New landmark study tests air on planes for virus transmission

Good news for people who've been itching to get on a plane to see family, friends, or take that long-awaited vacation.     

There's a new landmark study that tested the air on an airplane for virus transmission.

Nearly zero virus transmission. 

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That was the finding of a new study that spent six months, measuring how much virus spread throughout a plane during air travel.  


The U.S. Transportation command of the department of defense placed 42 biodefense sensors throughout the cabin of a United Airlines jet.

Also, aboard, Ruth, a mannequin equipped with an aerosol generator. 


Ruth simulates breathing and coughing.

In each test, 180 million particles were released, equal to thousands of coughs. But after 300 tests, both in the air on the ground, the study found a transmission rate of just .003%, if the passengers wore a mask for the entire flight.

That’s how social media influencer Kinya Claiborne travels. 

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She’s traveled all over the world for her webzine, style and society.

During the pandemic, “Springfield, Missouri, before that Park City, Utah, then I was in Sonoma in napa and Paso Robles,” she’s had no qualms about traveling, “I absolutely think that the airlines do a great job keeping you safe," Claiborne said.

Every airline now boasts of it’s cleaning and sanitizing protocols. 

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On United, before each flight, the cabin is cleaned, germs killed with an electrostatic spray, and further disinfected with UVC lighting wands.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Edward Jones-Lopez of Keck USC is not surprised at all by the study results. 

“.003% results are not surprising at all. Actually, they’re very consistent with what we knew already; air quality inside an airplane is very high quality. That is because of systems that were designed several decades ago. You need directional airflow and the passage of that air through HEPA filters,” Jones-Lopez told FOX 11.