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23 May 2024
PREVENT, - Air Quality

EFA brings in the perspective of allergy and asthma patients to a new study published by the European Commission JRC and HERA. This research brings a new policy dimension to the need to improve Indoor Air Quality and protect vulnerable populations such as respiratory and allergy patients.

JRC137325 coverOn 17 April, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), jointly with the Health Emergency and Preparedness Authority (HERA), published the paper ‘Suppressing Indoor Pathogen Transmission: A Technology Foresight study’. The research is the result of a desk review and an expert workshop in which EFA participated, to  assess existing and novel technologies in the fight against airborne pathogens in indoor spaces.  

From filtration/ventilation and UV radiation to plasma discharges, biosensors and aerosol samplers, there are current and emerging technologies with different capacities to detect and/or decontaminate indoor settings. Among the example pathogens of the study, the Commission has been looking at infectious diseases such as flu, COVID-19 or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

The development of the study was the culmination of a joint work of more than 50 experts in this field, while it also involved a workshop with relevant stakeholders, including EFA.  

EFA brings the perspective of allergy and asthma patients to the study

EFA was delighted to see in the foresight study that our input and recommendations from the perspective of allergy and respiratory diseases patients was taken fully on board. Among other key points, the study: 

  • Emphasises the need for a comprehensive strategy for indoor air quality (IAQ), achievable only through cooperation among sectors and communities, including healthcare workers, building experts, scientists, regulators and civil society;
  • Encourages the development of EU-wide guidelines for IAQ defining markers or even concentration limits; 
  • Urges joint work among public authorities to integrate building/environmental standards with health considerations;
  • Stresses the importance of innovation funding for research to accommodate holistic measures on IAQ;
  • Welcomes the study of the interplay between ambient and indoor air quality;
  • Defines a research agenda involving all relevant actors, including architects, engineers, health professionals, decision-makers and end users.

The publication of the study is a milestone to advance IAQ in the EU, which especially post-pandemic have received increasing attention from both regulators and the research community. 

Representing a patient community that is particularly vulnerable to airborne pollutants indoors, EFA is always ready to contribute to discussions on IAQ at both the EU and the national level. 

Read the new publication with EFA recommendations here.

Read EFA’s main takeaways of the participation to the workshop here.