In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has offered guidance for airline operators on transporting SARS-CoV-2 specimens and providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers on flights. The World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Center for Disease Control (US CDC) advised health authorities to ship specimens of SARS-CoV-2 as UN 3373, Biological Substance, Category B, and cultures of SARS-CoV-2 as UN 2814, Category A. Category A covers high-risk infectious materials affecting humans, and Category B covers low- or moderate-risk specimens. This document is an example of how emerging pathogens are categorized and regulated according to IATA's Dangerous Goods Regulations.
IATA, the trade association for world airlines, represents 82% of total air traffic. They are a world leader on aviation policy and work closely with the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to help set international shipping standards. This guidance was released by the IATA Cargo team, which has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure SARS-COV2 specimens, needed for surveillance and the development of medical countermeasures, are shipped in a safe and timely fashion.