Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Researchers Developing Ways To Disinfect PPE For Potential Reuse

Researchers from the University of Auckland and the University of Otago have received funding of $1.3m to put in place a mobile solution to disinfect and potentially reuse personal protective equipment (PPE).

Lead researcher Dr Yvonne Anderson of the University of Auckland’s Medical School says the project has the potential to protect frontline workers against virus transmission in hospitals and the wider community. It may also address what continues to be a ‘river’ of PPE going to landfill.


“Being a front-line worker, I know how important it is that the voices of healthcare workers are heard in this area to ensure an acceptable end-product. By conserving PPE and creating safe disinfection solutions, we create an insurance policy against running short of this essential equipment in the future, and may also stem what is proving to be a major problem for the environment,” she said.


While New Zealand has avoided major strain on its health system to date, internationally the pandemic continues to affect millions of people, placing serious pressure on many health systems who continue to require large volumes of PPE to keep health staff protected.


Dr Anderson and Dr José Derraik of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and the Liggins Institute reviewed research on how best to disinfect PPE. They have worked with collaborators in New Zealand, the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Taranaki DHB and a New Zealand company to create and trial a process that enables PPE to be safely disinfected and reprocessed for potential reuse. The proposed disinfection protocol may involve a combination of storage, heat and ultraviolet (UV) light.


The team are trialling the process on gowns, surgical masks, N95 respirator face masks, face shields and eye wear to demonstrate that the process means used PPE can safely be disinfected for potential reuse.


Initial estimates are that the disinfection protocol would increase the available supply of N95 face masks alone by 400 per cent, with the designed system potentially capable of disinfecting 300 masks per hour.


The next step is for the team to test and refine their protocol with Professor Miguel Quiñones-Mateu and his team on actual SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes Covid-19), kept safe in a highly contained laboratory at the University of Otago, Dunedin. This secure facility is also looking at potential strategies to combat SARS-CoV-2, including antiviral agents and vaccines. “This extremely relevant and timely project is yet another example of the kind of multidisciplinary expertise we have in New Zealand. Together we hope to be able to find an efficient solution to a daunting problem, potentially even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” Professor Quiñones-Mateu said.


Dr Anderson says, “We are working closely with the university teams on how to do this safely, and thanks to the expertise of UV Solutionz, a New Zealand firm that specialises in UV disinfection, we are in a position to create a whole-of-PPE disinfection solution. We wanted to keep the process simple, rapidly implementable, mobile and easy to roll out anywhere in the country and further afield as necessary.”


Meanwhile, the team’s initial rapid review of the scientific literature has been published as a preprint, while undergoing full peer-review.


The project has been supported by $1.3m from MBIE’s Covid-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund and $46k from the MAS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the organisation providing insurance and financial services to health professionals.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Tiwai Point: Rio Tinto Announces Plans To Close Tiwai Point Smelter

Rio Tinto has just announced that it will wind down New Zealand Aluminium Smelters - the Tiwai Point smelter - saying the business is no longer viable. More>>

ALSO:

Freight: New Report On Auckland Port Relocation

The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. More>>

ALSO:

Chartered Accountants: COVID-19 Fails To Knock Kiwi Investor Confidence, But More Disclosure Wanted

Three months of COVID-19 lockdown and investment turmoil has done little to knock confidence in New Zealand capital markets and listed companies with overall investor sentiment very similar to 2019, an investor survey held in mid June shows. However, ... More>>

ALSO:

Taxation: Black-Market Tobacco Sidesteps $287 Million In Excise Tax

Year-on-year increases in consumption of illicit tobacco in New Zealand have seen illegal trade swell to 11.5% of the total market. If consumed legally, illicit products would have netted the Government $287 million in excise tax during 2019. Independent ... More>>

ALSO:

Energy Sector: Meridian Spilled Water To Hike Electricity Prices - Authority Ruling

The Electricity Authority has found that generator Meridian Energy manipulated the power market, costing consumers about $80 million. More>>

ALSO:

XE Data Update: RBNZ Official Cash Rate Decision

The RBNZ will keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25%. T he key points in the RBNZ statement are: RBNZ keeps the OCR unchanged at 0.25% Maintain the LSAP (large scale asset purchase) at NZD$60 billion. Committee prepared to use additional monetary ... More>>

ALSO:

Electricity: Kiwis Ignore Promise Of Cheaper Power

Electric Kiwi and Flick Electric Co are joint winners of Canstar Blue’s award for Most Satisfied Customers | Electricity Providers From putting on an extra layer – rather than turning on a heater – to turning off lights and choosing the energy-saving ... More>>

ALSO:

Electricity: Transmission Pricing For A Low Carbon Future

The Electricity Authority has decided on new guidelines for transmission pricing. James Stevenson-Wallace, Chief Executive of the Electricity Authority says the new guidelines will deliver significant benefits to consumers, through lower electricity ... More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: The Climate Record That Keeps Getting Broken

Among the multitude of New Zealand climate statistics there is one record that continues to be broken month after month. Since January 2017 there has not been one month that recorded a below average nationwide temperature, according to NIWA’s seven station ... More>>

ALSO:

Govt: Extended Loan Scheme Keeps Business Afloat

Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small ... More>>

ALSO:

Science: 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Announced

The 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes have been announced in a digital livestream event today. The Prizes recognise the impact of science on New Zealanders’ lives, celebrate the achievements of current scientists and encourage scientists of the ... More>>

ALSO:


RNZ: Fuel, Alcohol Costs To Go Up From Today

The increase today in the taxes on fuel, road user charges and alcohol is being called a tone-deaf move. More>>

ALSO:

Stardome Observatory: Young Kiwi Astro-Photographer Shoots For The Stars

Matariki by Josh Kirkley. The stars are aligning for up-and-coming Auckland-based astro-photographer Josh Kirkley (Kāi Tahu). During lockdown, one of his images was picked up by NASA and shared on the space agency’s Instagram to its 59.2 million ... More>>


DCANZ: Time For EU To Commit To A Level Playing Field For Trade

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker’s statement that it is unacceptable for New Zealand exporters to continue facing an ‘unlevel playing field’ in the EU. Details leaked ... More>>

ALSO:

Potatoes New Zealand: Protecting NZ Fries As Part Of PNZ Pandemic Recovery & Transformation Plan

Potatoes New Zealand has met with Minister Faafoi this week to discuss investigating the potential importation of heavily discounted frozen potato chips into New Zealand. With MBIE’s support we are undertaking an investigation to gather evidence of the ... More>>

ALSO:


New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>

ALSO: