To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) studies and (b) other research reports that his Department holds on the presence of viable covid-19 virus in the air in (i) supermarkets and (ii) other large retail settings.
The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is the largest public funder of health research in the United Kingdom. Companies and research institutes are welcome to submit proposals to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and NIHR research calls. Government support is available to prioritise, coordinate and deliver studies which qualify as urgent public health research.
As part of the NIHR-UKRI rolling call for rapid research proposals research, a £0.3 million project has been commissioned to investigate how long SARS-CoV-2 can survive in air and on different surfaces, which is being led by Public Health England. In addition, a highlight notice was issued in May inviting COVID-19 research proposals on transmission. Whilst the research is not specific to supermarkets and other large-scale retail settings it is hoped that the research is applicable to these and many other scenarios.