Global Health Seminar: Air Pollution and COVID-19 in Developing Countries
UGA College of Public Health
Global Health Institute
Fall 2020 Seminar Series
Air Pollution and COVID-19 in Developing Countries: Research Priorities, Challenges, and Opportunities
John McCracken, Professor, Global Health Institute, College of Public Health, University of Georgia
Please join us for this virtual seminar on Thursday, September 24 at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom. Everyone is welcome to attend! Join the seminar via Zoom at this link: https://zoom.us/j/97525321378; Meeting ID: 975 2532 1378. Or call in, find your local number here.
Speaker Bio: Dr. John McCracken is a Professor in the Global Health Institute in the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. As an environmental epidemiologist, Dr. McCracken focuses on preventing both infectious and chronic diseases by understanding environmental risk factors. His main research area has been the health effects of household air pollution (HAP) due to solid fuel use, which was estimated to cause 1.6 million premature deaths in 2017, primarily in low and middle-income countries where poor infrastructure and poverty limit access to clean cooking stoves and fuels for around 40% of the world population. This research is comprised of studies of air pollution exposure assessment, implementation of interventions, and associations with a broad array of respiratory, cardiovascular and maternal and child health outcomes. Acute respiratory infections (ARI), particularly pneumonia, are a leading cause of mortality in young children, and the contribution of HAP to this disease burden remains uncertain. In particular, some studies suggest that the effect of HAP on ARI depends on the specific bacterial or viral infectious etiology. Early studies of the COVID-19 pandemic raise concern over the role of ambient air pollution in the spread of infection and severity of disease, but the influence of HAP has not been studied. Building on his expertise in the HAP field as well as his work on emerging infectious disease surveillance at the University del Valle de Guatemala and in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the past 10 years, Dr. McCracken aims to propose a study to determine whether HAP exposure increases household transmission and severity of COVID-19. The proposed study will leverage the current fieldwork capacity established in Guatemala under the NIH-funded randomized trial of a liquefied petroleum gas stove and fuel intervention to assess the impact of HAP reduction on health (HAPIN).