Individualised 3D-printed face masks to match facial shape and prevent leaks, and research into the use of germicidal ultraviolet light to reduce infection rates in aged care facilities have seen Flinders University researchers awarded federal funding as part of the fight against COVID-19.
The projects are amongst six clinical trials nationally chosen to receive immediate funding totalling $10.1 million from the federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund’s Clinical Trials Activity Initiative.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said $973,114 would support Professor Anand Ganesan to develop bespoke face masks.
Mask leak with existing P2/N95 respirators is a major problem for health care workers.
The main reason for face mask leak is the individual variability in the shape of the human face.
Professor Ganesan’s clinical trial will test the effectiveness and feasibility of customised 3D-printed face guards used in conjunction with P2/N95 respirators as a way of reducing face mask leak.
This is a rapidly scalable, customised technology that could quickly and feasibly be utilised around the world.
Meanwhile, Professor Geraint Rogers who is Director of Microbiome Research at the SA Health and Medical Research Institute has been awarded $1,366,094 to test the effectiveness of an inexpensive and rapidly implementable germicidal ultraviolet air-treatment strategy.
Used in conjunction with existing infection control measures, it aims to utilise UV light as a means to reduce rates of respiratory viral infection in residential aged care facilities.
Minister Hunt said each of these extremely promising Australian innovations, which will begin clinical trials from early 2021, has the potential to dramatically shift the global battle against COVID-19.