Johns Hopkins, DuPont join forces to produce improved Ebola protection suit

September 28, 2015

The Johns Hopkins University and DuPont have signed license and collaboration agreements allowing DuPont to commercialize a garment with innovative features from Johns Hopkins to help protect people on the front lines of the Ebola crisis and future deadly infectious disease outbreaks. DuPont intends to have the first of these garments available in the marketplace during the first half of 2016.

IMAGE: WILL KIRK / HOMEWOODPHOTO.JHU.EDU

IMAGE: WILL KIRK / HOMEWOODPHOTO.JHU.EDU

The collaboration between the major research university and the international science and engineering company began in response to the humanitarian need identified by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) during the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In this region, the Ebola virus has infected more than 28,000 patients and resulted in more than 11,000 deaths. Harsh climates and ill-equipped health systems have led to tough working conditions that made it particularly difficult to keep the infections at bay. As the disease spread, many nurses, doctors, and others were fatally infected by the patients they were treating. The World Health Organization has confirmed more than 800 Ebola cases among health workers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, leading to more than 500 related deaths.

As this grim toll came to light, public health experts, scientists, and biomedical engineers in the public and private sectors were called on to help. In December, the USAID selected the new Johns Hopkins prototype protective garment, made of an advanced DuPont material, as one of the first five projects to receive funding to address the healthcare challenge posed by Ebola.

The prototype garment was developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID), with input from global health partner, Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins affiliate. Incorporating some elements from the Johns Hopkins prototype, the garment design from DuPont will feature a rear zipper and a “cocoon-style” removal, or doffing, process that requires far fewer steps to reduce risk. The DuPont garment may include an integrated hood with a large clear visor.

Excerpted from The Hub. Read the complete story here.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design