Researchers and clinicians from Athlone Institute of Technology and NUI Galway have joined forces to tackle the global shortage of N95 masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) desperately needed by frontline workers and other healthcare professionals.
Offering protection from coronavirus, PPE needs to be carefully removed and disposed of after each use to prevent the spread of the highly infectious disease. Due to its material composition, PPE is extremely heat sensitive and not intended for reprocessing.
Eco-sustainable solutions, which were recently published in leading environmental journal STOTEN, harness the power of vaporised hydrogen peroxide (VH2O2) to neutralise COVID-19 and other contagions. Use of this gas has just been FDA-authorized for decontaminating N95 masks and a similar authorized approach is likely to be deployed in the Republic of Ireland.
“A key priority is making sure our frontline healthcare workers have the PPE they need to be protected against COVID-19. Unfortunately, the combination of supply chain challenges and unprecedented levels of global demand means that some hospitals are now facing PPE shortages,” explains Professor Laffey.
“Reprocessing of PPE using novel decontamination approaches is essential to protecting our frontline workers. Of course, these novel approaches must be assessed and validated to ensure that they are safe and effective to meet regulatory requirements,” he adds.
Their vital research is being supported by ‘INSPIRE’, a programme led by Professors Martin O’Halloran and John Laffey, and composed of academics, clinicians and scientists from University Hospital Galway, the BioInnovate Programme and the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices, GMIT and AIT’Software Research Institute and Applied Polymer Technology Centre.
Professor John Laffey
Professor John Laffey is the Professor of Anaesthesia at the School of Medicine of the National University of Ireland, and a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Galway University Hospitals.
His major research interest is centered on investigation of the pathophysiology of, and development of therapeutic strategies for, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).