Business Courier: UC part of nearly $2M CDC grant to develop next generation of health care PPE

One of the goals is to develop self-decontaminating PPE

Researchers at UC are taking part in a new nearly $2 million, multiyear study that will help develop a new generation of PPE, or personal protective equipment, for health care workers.

UC researchers will work with teams from Iowa State University and the University of California-Davis to improve the design, function and safety of PPE, or personal protective equipment. The study is part of a multi-institutional, four-year grant worth $1.8 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In coverage of the study by the Cincinnati Business Courier, Sergey Grinshpun, MD, of the Department of Environmental and Public Health at the UC College of Medicine said one of the goals of the research is to develop self-decontaminating PPE. 

A breathing machine in a lab in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences

A breathing machine in a lab in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

“The present challenges in the PPE arena require innovative solutions,” Grinshpun said. “Here at UC, we have developed promising ideas that will serve as the foundation for a new generation of PPE, particularly novel respiratory protective devices. The newly awarded effort will greatly benefit from the multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art respiratory protection research facility that we have built in our laboratories over the years.”

Grinshpun said this laboratory facility will be used to test various materials and PPE configurations on both mannequins and human subjects.

Mannequins are used because human subjects cannot be exposed to harmful aerosols for ethical reasons. Plus, every human subject has their own individual breathing pattern, making it difficult to standardize any protocol for evaluating the efficiency of respirators.

“In contrast, mannequins can be exposed to harmful aerosol particles, including live viruses, bacteria,” Grinshpun said. “The use of breathing simulators (which can replicate any breathing pattern) as well as coughing and sneezing generators developed by our team, will help us standardize the study’s protocols and procedures.” 

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