Airborne Transmission of SARS Coronavirus – From Fundamental Science to Efficient Air Cleaning Systems (CORAERO)

  • Project team:

    Hahn, Julia (Project leader); Miltos Ladikas, Lahari Yaddanapudi

  • Funding:

    Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY); German Aerospace Center (DLR); Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR); Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG); Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (HMGU); Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT); GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (GSI); Technical University of Munich (TUM); Universitätsklinikum Augsburg (UKA); OTH Regensburg (OTH-R)

  • Research group:

    Socio-Technical Futures and Policies

Project description

Besides droplet and smear infection, the most effective mode of transmission of SARS Corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to current knowledge, is aerosol transport. These forms of transmission can easily lead to so-called super-spreading events. As long as there is no population immunity, e.g., after extensive vaccination, strict hygiene rules such as wearing masks, physical distancing, hand and surface hygiene, and frequent aeration are the only available measures to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2. However, the success of such measures crucially depends on human factors, and therefore a key lesson learned from the pandemic so far is that there is an urgent need for effective, safe, and affordable technologies to prevent the spread of viruses. Thus, drastic measures such as public closures and quarantine can be avoided. This applies not only to the current pandemic but also to future pandemics of this kind.

The Helmholtz CORAERO project aims to make significant contributions to the knowledge of aerosol-driven virus transport and to the development of technologies for efficient physical virus control by means of interdisciplinary scientific-technological cooperation. It brings together scientists from virology, medicine, applied physics, chemistry, materials research, and engineering, creates new knowledge, and develops technologies along the infection chain from aerosol generation in the respiratory tract to effective destruction of the virus by air treatment in public spaces such as schools, businesses, passenger vehicles, or concert halls.

ITAS will conduct an integrated TA as part of CORAERO’s backbone activities. This will function as a continuous reflection for the project by providing integrated feedback on potential and emerging social, legal, and ethical implications as well as issues of public trust and acceptance. TA will thus be embedded in the project development process, providing analysis and information to the research team. This will include assessments of relevant critical aspects as an “early warning” and expand the project’s interdisciplinary communication and competencies. Further, ITAS will access its globalTA network to include an international range of experts, stakeholders and science and technology policy frameworks, as well as public and expert perceptions and global datasets. This will include the analysis of trust and acceptance to identify parameters that influence behavior, acceptance of technologies, and policy decisions.

Project website:
The Helmholtz research campaign on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic:


Dr. Julia Hahn
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 30 40750493