Johns Hopkins Designs More Protective Ebola Healthcare Worker Suit

 

The Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design (CBID) and affiliated non-profit health organization Jhpiego have won one of five awards for innovation in Ebola design sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Its winning entry, designed by a 65-member Johns Hopkins team in one weekend's event, Fighting Ebola, The Grand Challenge, is an advanced protective suit for healthcare workers treating Ebola patients.

 

Johns Hopkins improved Ebola suit for healthcare workers: image via hub.jhu.eduJohns Hopkins improved Ebola suit for healthcare workers: image via hub.jhu.edu

 

The suit aims to reduce the possibility of infection as well as to provide air circulation under the garment, a particular concern in the hot, humid areas of West Africa where Ebola is prevalent.  The hood (shown above) is integrated into the suit and provides a large visual area for the wearer, as well as ample air vents and a cooling system originally designed by Johns Hopkins cardiologist Harikrishna Tandri to cool down patients suffering from cardiac arrest.

The Ebola suit wraps around the body, cocoon-like, making it easier to don and disrobe.  Additionally, it opens and is vented in the back, minimizing risk of infection. In this video, you will see more of the suit's protective features....


 

The Johns Hopkins team drew from the experience of students and faculty in engineering, medicine, and public health. There were even several community volunteers who supported the design with surprising contributions, such as those from a wedding dress designer and an architect.

The amount of USAID's funding of the new Ebola protective wear has not been established, but it is estimated it will cover seed costs and sourcing.

"If ever there was a public health crisis that merits the finest science, medicine, and innovation the world has to offer, it is this one," said Leslie Mancuso, Jhpiego president and CEO. "The personal protection suit we are developing with our partners at the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design is purposefully designed to address safety and climate issues now putting health workers at risk."

 

sources: JHU, USAID, via Fierce Healthcare