Quick Evaluation of Advanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) During COVID‑19 by Using Nanostructured Sensing Assay

Zhang, Jin | $50,000

Ontario Western University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

Due to the extremely contagious nature yet unknown pathology of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in humans, it is vital to have effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used by people, particularly, healthcare workers. Grafoid Inc., a Canadian company, is developing cost-effective PPE by using its unique graphene-based nanofibers. The major goal of Grafoid Inc is to achieve a massive production of graphene-based nanofibers with good performance in the prevention of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 particles through the integration of nanofibers with filtration materials used for face masks. To improve the quality of Gradoid’s nanofibers, and quickly evaluate the performance of the advanced and cost-effective PPE, Dr. Jin Zhang from Western University will collaborate Grafoid to achieve the following goals. Aim-1: Modify the surface of Grafoid’s nanofibers incorporating filtration materials used for the face mask to efficiently trap/block aerosol (fine mist) droplets. Aim-2: Based on our established graphene-based biosensing assay, a biosensor platform for quickly detecting SARS-CoV-2, causing COVID-19, will be developed for rapid evaluation of Grafoid’s nanofiber-based medical face mask or PPE to fight against COVID-19. Aim-3: Establish a protocol of quick evaluating the advanced PPE made with Grafoid’s nanofibers in terms of ultra gas permeability, strong capability for blocking pathogens including viral particles, and good biocompatibility.

Two PhD students will be involved in this proposed project. With the successful results of this proposed project, Grafoid will quickly provide the advanced and cost-effective PPE which is vital to offer the solution of the global shortage of PPE during COVID-19, particularly, medical face mask.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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