As a pandemic-weary nation limps into the holiday season, a surge in coronavirus cases has hospitals, clinics and nursing facilities in some places scrambling to maintain critical supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Brig. Gen. David Sanford sought to calm worried medical professionals when he said at a recent Coronavirus Task Force briefing that the U.S. strategic stockpile now has a four-month surge supply of N95 masks.
“We stand in a much better position than we were just a month ago,” he said, “and certainly more than four or five months ago, to meet the surging PPE demands of our nation.”
The mother of invention
The necessities generated by the pandemic have resulted in not only increased PPE production but a burst of innovation in PPE technology as well.
Individuals and companies are developing new PPE materials and tech for face shields, masks, gloves, gowns, filters, coronavirus tests, disinfectants and more to better protect medical professionals and the public.
On the way . . .
Recent announcements of PPE-related patents include the following:
- Applied Nanoscience Inc. (ANI), a nanotechnology-based air filtration company has obtained patents for “three main methods of associating nanoparticles with filter media”: coating the media with a nanoparticle powder; impregnating the filter media with the nanoparticles; and “having pellets of nanoparticles located adjacent to the filter media.”
- ValhallaMED’s face-helmet features “a powered air system and a patent-pending filtration mechanism” as well as air coolers and a Bluetooth communication system.
- Pending Health Canada approval, Trebor Rx will produce a recyclable PPE mask with 300-plus hours of usage. The firm says its PRO+ Dual Respirator mask features “a graphene-based ink with 99 percent virucidal activity against COVID-19.”
The risk of infringement
It should be noted that the rush to develop and manufacture PPE carries with it a risk of intellectual property infringement. Companies and individuals that perform due diligence to identify patent rights can avoid IP litigation.