UF Researchers Launch Study on Small Materials That May Have a Big Impact on Protecting Communities From COVID-19 (UF PHHP News)

UF Researchers Launch Study on Small Materials That May Have a Big Impact on Protecting Communities From COVID-19

Through a newly-funded National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research, or RAPID grant, researchers in the University of Florida departments of environmental and global health and epidemiology are on a mission to improve personal protective equipment, specifically face masks, that are being widely used to protect health care workers and the broader community from infection with SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 illness.

Led by Tara Sabo-Attwood, Ph.D., John Lednicky, Ph.D., and Cindy Prins, Ph.D., M.P.H., in collaboration with Navid Saleh, Ph.D., of the University of Texas department of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, researchers are using nanomaterials — very small synthetic particles — that are wrapped in soap molecules designed to kill the virus once it is filtered by the mask. In the current pandemic, many health care facilities do not have adequate supplies of PPE, and workers in many facilities are being asked to re-use masks well beyond their intended use. In addition, most masks can capture viruses, but not necessarily kill them.

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