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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carle Health partner to introduce new PPE products and sterilization processes to meet higher demand

CHAMPAIGN, IL… The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has introduced new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) products and sterilization processes to support the needs of health care workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to face shield kits announced in mid-April, a team of engineers, physicians, researchers and designers from the university and Carle Health has fabricated N-95 respirator masks; disposable face shields; disposable and reusable gowns; and reusable surgical face masks.

Product design specifications and instructions for use have been made public here: https://ippe.grainger.illinois.edu. Visitors can download designs and view videos and photos of production and assembly.

“Local healthcare providers tested prototypes of each product, and designs were modified based on user feedback. Finished, sterilized products will be delivered at cost to Carle Foundation Hospital and OSF Healthcare,” said Irfan Ahmad, PhD, Executive Director of the Health Maker Lab, Assistant Dean for Research, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and Executive Director for Interdisciplinary Initiatives for the Grainger College of Engineering.

The university tested both large-scale and small-scale sterilization of PPE, Ahmad said. The large-scale sterilization process has been reviewed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration. For PPE product development, the team sought FDA guidance under Emergency Use Authorizations for PPE.

“The goal is to offer local health care providers the opportunity to sterilize large quantities of reusable PPE at our facilities,” said Lyndon Goodly, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Director of the Division of Animal Resources, and co-lead on the sterilization project.

The I-PPE initiative has three distinct phases built on the Health Maker Lab node network: prototyping and testing individual products; prototyping small-scale production; and scaling-up to manufacture large quantities, explained Helen Nguyen, PhD, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and lead PI on the PPE project.

“We successfully achieved our goals for PPE design and prototyping,” Nguyen said. “Since the university has limited capacity for production, we will be sharing our designs with interested manufacturers capable of medium- to large-scale production to meet the short- and long-term PPE supply needs of local and regional communities.”

Hospitals across the state continue to experience higher than usual demand for PPE, and supply shortages nationwide have made it difficult to secure additional supplies, said Carle Chief Medical Officer Charles Dennis, MD. “Our partnership with the University of Illinois is helping to mitigate pressure on our PPE supply. Importantly, it has demonstrated the power of collaboration when organizations and communities come together to respond to local challenges.”

The PPE design initiative, led jointly by The Grainger College of Engineering and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s Health Maker Lab, has been dubbed “I-PPE” by team leaders. The “I” stands for “Illinois,” “innovation,” and “I” – local manufacturers and community members – can make it.  Several of the university’s colleges, the Krannert Center, the Champaign Urbana Community Fab Lab, local volunteers and others are participating in the effort.

Charitable donations from individuals, families and businesses helped to make the PPE initiative possible. The Krannert Costume Shop, led by Andrea Bouck, quickly mobilized an extraordinary community-based workforce comprised of over 400 local sewers to produce reusable face masks and reusable non-surgical isolation gowns. Quilter Glennys Mensing, PhD, research assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, created the fold-and-cut PPE gown pattern. The innovative pattern dramatically reduces the amount of space, cutting, and time to produce the gown.

“The rapid response, and ‘we can do it’ mentality reminiscent of Rosie the Riveter, has been inspiring. The craftmanship, tenacity and ingenuity of our community embodies the spirit of what it means to be American,” said Catherine Best, PhD, research assistant professor in the Bioengineering Department, and co-lead on the gowns PPE project.

Donors include Jump ARCHES, which is providing funding for N95 respirator masks. Jump ARCHES is partnership between the Jump Simulation and Education Center at OSF HealthCare and the university’s Health Care Engineering Systems Center. Motorola provided a grant and Carle Illinois College of Medicine made a donation through its Innovation Fund.

To make a contribution, please visit https://ippe.grainger.illinois.edu.

The Health Maker Lab is a network of maker labs and design spaces across the University of Illinois campus. Professionals, students and citizen scientists collaborate, ideate and create unique solutions to global health challenges by prototyping anything at any scale—from molecules to buildings.

Learn more about the Health Maker Lab at https://healthmakerlab.medicine.illinois.edu.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Charlie Simpson
Executive Director, Marketing and Communications
Carle Illinois College of Medicine
217-300-4519
csimp@illinois.edu

DISCLAIMER

The University of Illinois is publishing the accompanying preliminary results of research (“content”) from faculty and employees of the University of Illinois (individually “Author” or collectively “Authors”). This publication only applies to the content provided here and does not apply to any other information, products, publications, or services of the Authors. The content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).

The content is being released in this manner to maximize the potential public benefit during this urgent need for measures to respond to the SARS-CoV-2 (also known as COVID-19) crisis, including promoting potential manufacturing pathways in light of the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The content has not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Interested readers are encouraged to contact the FDA and review available FDA materials, such as the following regarding PPE:
https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-and-surgical-masks-face-masks

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/medical-gowns

PLEASE NOTE: The content has not been peer reviewed. The Authors make no representations or warranties of any kind (express or implied) relating to accuracy, safety, usefulness, usability, marketability, performance, or otherwise of the content released here. The Authors disclaim all express and implied warranties of merchantability and fitness of the content for a particular purpose, and disclaims all express and implied warranties regarding non-infringement of any patent, copyright, trademark, or other rights of third parties in the content or use of the content, or in the making, using, or selling products or services by any person or entity.

People or entities attempting to use the content in any way, including creating products or offering services, assume all risk and responsibility related to those uses, including all legal and regulatory compliance, safety, efficacy, performance, design, marketability, title, and quality. The Authors assume no liability related to the actions of third parties and in respect of any infringement of any patent, copyright, or other right of third parties.

The content has not been used in testing with humans at this time.

The Authors’ names and logos, and the names and logos of Carle Health, OSF Healthcare, EarthSense, Jump ARCHES, Wagner Machine Co., ShapeMaster, Inc., Busey Bank, and Kenneth B. Cooley, Jr., are trademarks or other exclusive property of those entities. Readers of the content shall not use the names or logos in any way for publicity, advertising, or other commercial purposes, including linked to the reader’s products or services. Readers of the content shall not make statements or representations that, in Author’s sole judgment, deliberately or inadvertently claim, suggest, or give the appearance or impression of a relationship with or endorsement by the Authors.

We are grateful

 for our donors who supported this initiative:

Anonymous
The Aref Family
Octavian Cheung
Michelle Corlew
Chris and Gozen Hartman
JUMP Simulation ARCHES

 The Larson Family
Kara Demirjian Huss and Mark Huss
Dr. Frank Shi and Mrs. Sharon Du
Jeff and McKenzie Sloan
Min Tang and  Xiaolei Zu
Drina and To Yue

Busey Bank