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COVID-19: Reducing Spread of COVID-19 in Households

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"This project was inspired by my late mentor Paul Farmer. Paul always pushed us to get resources to the community, and we are doing that for what I consider one of the most urgent issues ahead: pandemic preparedness against airborne pathogens."

Reducing Spread of COVID-19 in Households through N95 Respirators, HEPA Filters, and a Safer-Home Checklist



Determine whether air filtration and ventilation can reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections among household contacts of an index case.



Why we care about this

Protecting all people from highly transmissible airborne infections is of utmost importance. The home is a setting with a high 'force of infection' where stopping outbreaks is especially critical.

Why we see the knowledge we are generating as strategic

Our study provides an objective assessment of portable air filtration devices and self-directed attempts at improving ventilation in a real-world setting. From this, we can learn how effective these interventions are and how to improve upon them.

What stage on the Stairway of Research contribution to problem solving

We are in between the pilot and test phases of the research. We have tested these devices already to determine efficacy. There have been CDC studies showing that portable DIY air filtration devices can efficiently reduce airborne particles. Our study is testing these, although in a way is also a pilot study as it is the first RCT of its kind.


Project Dates

January 2023 - June 2024


Stage of Work

The study has already begun enrolling participants.  The trial is registered.



Primary Contact:  Abraar Karan, PI

Stanford University

.   Abraar Karan, Infectious Diseases Fellow, PI

.   Yvonne Maldonado, Protocol Director

.   Dr. Stephen Luby: Professor of Medicine

.   Lynn Hildemann: Professor of Environmental Engineering

.   Jorge Luis Salinas: Hospital Epidemiologist

.   Undergraduates: Kira Craig (gr. 2023), Joyce Essuman, Sofia Pesantez, Hannah Kelley


San Mateo Medical Center:

.   Vivian Levy : Chief, Infectious Diseases

.   Priscilla Romero : Manager, Medical Staff Services

.   Jesenia Garcia : Research Assistant


External Consultant:

. Devabhaktuni Srikrishna



Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health (CIGH) 2022 Seed Grant