Looking at the Covid-19 Pandemic through the Lens of Risk Analysis
Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) has been used for nearly 40 years to assess risks from human pathogen exposures and to make decisions leading to risk reduction. It has been used in water safety, bioterrorism, food protection and other contexts. Its’ elements of dose-response analysis, exposure assessment and risk characterization have insights into understanding the COVID-19 pandemic, and to highlight data gaps that need to be answered as the pandemic proceeds. QMRA deprecates long entrenched concepts such as “minimal infectious dose”.
An overview of QMRA will be presented. What we know or can infer to use QMRA in this context will be reviewed.
This can be used to answer such salient questions as:
- Based on the recognition of expelled air particles as a key route for transmission in the community setting, what are the implications for ventilation in indoor spaces and physical distancing (including the 6 foot/15 minute framework)?
- What are the issues with interpreting RNA measurements from a health risk point of view?
- How can we develop guidance for “how clean is clean”?
- What about fomites?
The application of formal QMRA highlights key data that need to be refined. However in the absence of perfect information, useful inferences can still be drawn. In the context of COVID-19, the application of QMRA will lead to more informed decisions.
Co-hosted with The Big Data Institute at
The University of Oxford
Meet the Speaker
Charles N. Haas, PhD
LD Betz Professor of Environmental Engineering Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at Drexel University
Throughout his career, Professor Charles N. Haas has specialized in the assessment of risk from and control of human exposure to pathogenic microorganisms, and in particular the treatment of water...and wastewater to minimize microbial risk to human health.
He has been a professor at Environmental Engineering at Drexel University since 1991 and also has courtesy appointments in the Department of Emergency Medicine of the Drexel University College of Medicine and the School of Public Health.
He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member by eminence of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and co-directed the USEPA/DHS University Cooperative Center of Excellence, Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA).
He is a distinguished fellow of the International Water Association and recipient of the Dr. John Leal Award and the AP Black Award of the American Water Works Association and the Clarke Water Prize, among other honors. Read more
Coordinating Committee Co-Chairs
Joanna Masel, PhD
Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at The University of Arizona
Luca Ferretti, PhD
Senior Researcher in Statistical Genetics and Pathogen DynamicsBig Data Institute, The University of Oxford
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