WHAT: To combat the short supply and high demand for the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to safeguard medical professionals and first responders in the battle against the COVID-19 global crisis, Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Young Investigator and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researcher and physician, James Byrne, M.D., Ph.D., and his team have found an innovative way to arm heroes on the frontlines.
Dr. Byrne, who is a radiation oncologist and chemical engineer, is part of a team of scientists who have rapidly deployed their skills to bolster our medical systems, in light of COVID-19, during this time of global crisis. Dr. Byrne and his team have designed revolutionary PPE masks that can be safely re-sterilized over and over by basic methods, such as high heat and alcohol. The mask can be inexpensively mass produced at around $1 per unit.
“This innovative, re-useable PPE could be a global game changer for returning our medical and first responder heroes on the frontlines to safety,” said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, PCF’s CEO. “It’s open sourced, so any country can make the masks cheaply and at large scale. We are proud of the ingenuity and integrity that our PCF investigators like Dr. Byrne have demonstrated in joining forces to solve problems for everyone in this time of crisis. This invention will help keep our healthcare workers safe, which in turn, can help rapidly increase hospital capacity for patients with and without COVID-19, as well as clear a path to open up the economy and get us back to where we need to be.”
The Prostate Cancer Foundation aims to raise $500,000 through crowdfunding to help raise the necessary funds to finish mask R&D and clinically field test to market within 45 days. The public can donate at join.pcf.org/mask.
ABOUT THE MASKS: The masks are molded with the same material used in anesthesia masks, making them easy to fit faces of all shapes and sizes. They can be produced quickly and inexpensively everywhere, and can be deployed globally. Each mask contains two filters (currently made from the same material as N95 masks, with alternative materials in development), which can be easily popped out and replaced. Since the molded parts are veritably indestructible, the mask can be re-sterilized and re-used with any number of methods.
WHO: Dr. James Byrne, Researcher, Physician, MIT and PCF Young Investigator Award Recipient and Dr. Jonathan Simons, CEO, PCF