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Iowa State researchers awarded federal grant to redesign personal protective equipment

Mier Chen
A team of ISU researchers has been awarded a federal grant to redesign personal protective gear.

A team of Iowa State University researchers has received a $1.8 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to redesign personal protective equipment.

Guowen Song, a professor in the Department of Human Sciences at ISU, leads the team, and said the pandemic has shed light on the need for PPE to be more comfortable, reusable and safer.

The project will address this, he said.

"It's for a focus on the deficiencies of the current PPE used for health care workers, respirator issues, and self-decontamination property, which is critical for the infection," Song said.

Rui Li, an assistant research professor at ISU, said one of the focuses will be developing biological self-decontaminating materials, which could have environmental and safety advantages.

"We hope to get this biocide or material which not only kills the bacteria and viruses on contact, but also its function of biocide can be renewed by different types of treatment," he said. "The simplest one would be just exposed to sunlight."

The ISU team will work with researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of Cincinnati.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter