Personal protective equipment

Ebola outbreak prompts call for PPE innovations

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Photo: Nixxphotography/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – The U.S. Agency for International Development is seeking innovators who can help improve personal protective equipment and tools used by health care workers who are fighting what is being called the largest Ebola outbreak in history.

The initiative, Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development, aims to identify innovations that will improve comfort while preserving the effectiveness of PPE such as masks, gloves, and boots. This equipment can become particularly uncomfortable in the hot, humid conditions that are common in West Africa, where an Ebola outbreak is taking place.

According to USAID, the “Grand Challenge” will establish:

  • An open platform to crowd-source and foster ideas
  • A competition that will fund and test innovations for PPE
  • Partnerships for rapid testing and deployment of the top solutions

“Together with our international partners, we will translate the expertise and ingenuity of scientists, innovators, engineers, and students from across the globe into real solutions,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said in a press release. “With your bold thinking and engagement, we can give health workers the tools they need to win this fight.”