Theme 4: Tools and methods

Theme 4 of the PROTECT study is developing a range of tools and methods to better understand transmission of the COVID-19 virus in different environments.

These are not only crucial to support the delivery of the other PROTECT research themes, but will also help ensure the legacy impact of the study by enhancing the UK’s capability to study respiratory virus transmission in readiness for any future pandemic.

The techniques being developed and utilised are improving our ability to collect environmental samples from the air and from surfaces, to detect and quantify viable virus, and to understand the spread of respiratory particles and factors influencing surface transmission.

These techniques are being put to use as part of the outbreak investigations taking place under Theme 1. They are also being used in laboratory experiments, producing data on the mechanics of virus transmission and the effectiveness of control measures that is being fed into the transmission models developed under Theme 2, as well as informing practical guidance.

Theme team

Theme lead: Allan Bennett, UK Health Security Agency

Other partners:

  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Bristol
  • The University of Manchester
  • University of Liverpool


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