School of public health

School Notes: School of Public Health
March/April 2022

Melinda Pettigrew (interim) |

Wearable air sampler detects exposure to SARS-CoV-2

Yale School of Public Health researchers have developed a passive air sampler clip that can help assess personal exposure to SARS-CoV-2, which could be especially helpful for workers in high-risk settings, such as health care facilities and restaurants.

“The Fresh Air Clip is a wearable device that can be used to assess exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the air,” said the clip’s creator Krystal Godri Pollitt, an assistant professor of epidemiology (environmental health sciences) at the Yale School of Public Health and an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale.“With this clip we can detect levels of virus that are well below the estimated SARS-CoV-2 infectious dose,” Pollitt said. “The Fresh Air Clip serves to identify exposure events early, alerting people to get tested or quarantine, and is intended to help prevent viral spread, which can occur when people do not have this kind of early detection of exposure.”

For YSPH alumna, helping Afghan evacuees is a personal mission

Sumaira Akbarzada ’21MPH understands the fear and uncertainty refugees feel fleeing their homeland. When her family fled Afghanistan during a violent civil war in the 1990s, she hid in the back of a truck and lowered her head to avoid being shot as they crossed into Pakistan.

Akbarzada also knows the courage it takes to leave the familiar behind in search of a better life and the overwhelming sense of relief that comes with finding support from others in a strange new land. 

Akbarzada discovered an opportunity to give back to her home community as a member of the SalivaDirect research lab at the Yale School of Public Health. As a community liaison for SalivaDirectAkbarzada secured funding from the Rockefeller Foundation to provide SalivaDirect COVID-19 testing to hundreds of displaced Afghan evacuees coming to New Haven County in a bold journey to escape the brutal Taliban regime controlling their homeland. The free testing is being done in collaboration with IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services), a New Haven–based nonprofit organization.    

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