Advertisement
Fashion & Style

Hopkins ebola suit design wins funding

A team from the John Hopkins University is one of the first to receive funding in a government-sponsored contest to develop improved gear and tools to fight the spread of Ebola.

The group, which devised a new type of protective suit to keep medical workers safe from exposure to the Ebola virus, is one of three that will receive funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Advertisement

The Hopkins prototype includes enhancements such as a clear visor in the hood, a rear zipper to ease removal of the suit and a battery-powered air source that keeps the wearer cool. Users of protective gear in hot, humid regions of Africa have identified overheating in the suit as a significant obstacle to medical workers' efforts to treat the disease.

The projects selected for federal support were announced Dec. 12 by USAID through its new program, Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development. The agency plans to award up to $1 million to developers who can successfully produce a more effective protective suit, but Hopkins said the exact amount of funding for its prototype has not yet been determined.

Advertisement

In November, the Hopkins team learned that they were semifinalists in the competition. More than 1,500 ideas from innovators from around the world were submitted, according to USAID.

The Hopkins submission is the result of a weekend-long challenge in October where 65 participants — ranging from medical experts to students to Baltimore wedding gown designer Jill Andrews — developed different strategies for new protective gear.

A smaller, core group of team members will continue working on the suit in an effort to make at least some of the improvements available for mass production by April, Hopkins said.


Advertisement