Airports & Travel

Keep pathogens grounded

Everyone’s health is connected. Travelers can propel the spread of pathogens, making airports and other ports of entry critical to the global early warning system for biological threats.

Monitoring pathogens at ports of entry provides a dynamic picture of what’s entering the country

Pathogen genomic surveillance – testing samples for dangerous strains of viruses and bacteria – often relies on symptomatic cases identified at hospitals or clinical laboratories. Pathogen monitoring at ports of entry is a proven model for early warning. Sampling asymptomatic travelers as they enter a country (or sampling the wastewater from aircraft lavatories) can help public health leaders catch and characterize emerging threats earlier than traditional surveillance approaches.

By studying pathogens as they arrive, experts can gain vital lead time to learn how new variants behave. The head start empowers officials to devise countermeasures and strategies to help mitigate public health impacts. Sharing insights and solutions across a global network helps provide a more complete picture and amplifies the world’s ability to proactively fight infectious disease.

Testing at

7 airports

JFK, EWR, ATL, SEA, IAD, SFO, and LAX

Monitoring flights from

~30 Countries

as they arrive in the U.S.

More than

80k participants

have volunteered samples

Multi-modal pathogen detection

Samples are taken from volunteer travelers and/or aircraft wastewater, then sent to a lab for PCR testing.

Viral variant sequencing & bioinformatics

Positive samples from surveillance tests undergo viral genomic sequencing to identify novel variants, track variants of concern, and help predict outbreaks.

Data analytics & reporting

Secure digital dashboards report key testing information (positivity rate, variant trend analysis, bioinformatics insights, etc.) to health authorities.

As risks evolve so can our platform

The COVID-19 pandemic showed how unpredictable biology can be. Our platform can adapt to changing needs around biological risks, pandemic preparedness, and open travel. Leaders can be flexible, targeted, and responsive with their monitoring strategy, adjusting test modalities, pathogen targets, and sampling sites as needed.

The premier in-airport COVID-19 monitoring program

Concentric and XpresCheck are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance (TGS) program to detect COVID-19 and flu variants that could be introduced into the U.S. by international travelers. The data we gather through the TGS program serves as a kind of radar for emerging biological threats. But the program’s real power is its ability to pivot as the risk landscape shifts. 

At the onset of the Omicron outbreak in late 2021, the Atlanta location was established in just 24 hours to capture new incoming flights. When international surges called for more west coast coverage in January 2023, we rapidly brought testing to the Seattle-Tacoma and Los Angeles airports. 

With the ability to acquire statistically significant distribution of samples from around the globe, the TGS program sequenced the first instances of Omicron BA.2 and BA.3 in the U.S.; contributed to the sub-lineage designation of BQ.1.1; and has been among the first in the country to identify BA.2.75.2, XBB, and CH.1.1. The public-private partnership can be a model for innovating sustainable public health solutions.

The mark ‘CDC’ is owned by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and is used with permission. Use of this logo is not an endorsement by HHS or CDC of any particular product, service, or enterprise.

We want to know when a new variant either is arriving or rising quickly, and these are the tools that will help answer those questions.

Tom Inglesby, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health

View politico Article

We can buy science weeks and months of knowing what’s coming. That buys time to understand the variant and what adjustments need to be made.

Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of CDC’s Travelers’ Health Branch

View LA times Article

It’s a minimum amount of effort to help a lot of people.

S. Chandra, a participating traveler at EWR

view ap news article

This effort ought to be expanded into a national and eventually global radar system keeping watch for emerging viruses and bacteria.

Washington Post | December 2022

view washington post article

The [program] currently collects samples from international air travelers arriving from more than 25 countries at several major U.S. airports. This data… provides an early warning system for detection of variants and trends over time.

The White House | December 2022

view white house fact sheet

Like in cybersecurity, experts monitor for security threats persistently and pervasively, and look for anomalies. So why aren’t we catching public health threats sooner so we can develop interventions like vaccines sooner?

Matt McKnight, General Manager, Biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks

view time article