Updated: Nov 23, 2020
It is always exciting to be on the verge of new inventions. It is even more exciting to see these inventions born in #CloseUp - that is what we have experienced with UVIRESO. Their team has formed during Hack The Crisis Lithuania online hackathon and has even managed to create a working prototype in 48 hours! The prototype created is a rather revolutionary measure to fight COVID-19: an ultraviolet radiation respirator that could be capable of destroying 99% airborne viruses.
The good news does not end here - just this week UVIRESO was chosen as one of the winners in the Life-Saving Innovations: Stop COVID-19 competition for prototype funding that was implemented by Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (MITA).
We have been impatient to learn more about this revolutionary solution - read the interview with UVIRESO team.
Why is UVIRESO important to the community, how will it help people?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is predicted that there may be a rise of new viruses that have not yet been detected. For example, modern human interactions with nature and intense travelling have led to an increase in virus-to-human transmission and its sudden spread. Therefore, once the spread of COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) coronavirus is contained, safeguards need to be in place for possible future outbreaks.
That’s where UVIRESO comes in – a UV-powered, multiple-use mask which can destroy any airborne virus at the point of exhaling.
By using UV light ability to damage vital parts of virus particles, our team develops a multi-use respirator UVresp 1.0 which can destroy any airborne virus at the point of exhaling. We know about the risks that UV light and Ozone generated by UV light can pose to human, and our objective is to design a device, that poses no harm to a person using it.
We expect that UVIRESO UV respirator will help to contain SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus now and other contagious pathogens in future globally. Now we focus on professional-use UV respirator, also on our development board are ideas of a respirator for the general public.
How did you decide to create such a solution?
The need for such solution arise back in March when hospitals across Europe were overflowing with patients infected with COVID-19, specialized infection hospitals were short of beds, the availability of single-use safety equipment was limited, leaving frontline healthcare workers, support staff and patients at risk of infection.
We wanted to act and contribute to the fight against pandemic and asked ourselves if something revolutionary could be done? With an idea of ultraviolet light respirator, we entered the 48-hour Hack-the-Crisis LT hackathon to crash-test the solution.
A core team consisting of physicist & project manager Jonas Klimantavičius, electronic engineer Darius Kančys, production engineer Donatas Puodžiukas, mechanics engineer Arvydas Donauskas and operations manager Adomas Klimantas has decided to work together throughout the weekend. The result of virtual team virtual work was a working UV respirator prototype (!) and pitch movie. Since then the team has changed and went global with mentor and business entrepreneur Andrius Žilėnas, communications manager Brigita Kavaliauskaitė, designer Mykolas Mirzinkevičius, 3D modelling and animation lead Ignas Nefas and public relations advisor Skaidra Puodziunas.
How could this proposed solution work in the public sector?
UVIRESO masks will help medical professionals, support staff and patients at risk in four ways:
Isolate potentially infected individuals from the environment,
Clean pathogens in exhaled air,
Allow for more patients to be isolated at the same time within non-infection-specialized healthcare centres with reduced risk of infection spread,
Increase the ability for medical professionals to treat patients without risk of contracting an infection.
There are important areas around healthcare staff safety to work on. Medical personnel must be protected from the virus threat since the first contact with a patient, and then in hospital wards and intensive care units (ICU’s). Since many hospitals do not have specifically prepared ICU’s or wards for infectious patients, the risk becomes ubiquitous. Also, there are other types of Public services, that in various circumstances can be exposed to risk due to their type of duty, for example, military or police.
The goal of our team is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus to below infective dose (the minimum quantity of pathogen necessary to cause infection in a susceptible host (an individual)). When viruses are killed at the point of exhalation, infection spread is limited to the bed of that single patient. This reduces direct personnel risk and the need for cumbersome protective costumes which cause great discomfort, impede movements, and which must be disinfected each time before being removed. At the same time, implementing UVIRESO solution would reduce the need for cleaning and disinfection measures inwards, ambulances, etc.
Any other interesting facts/elements about the creation of UVIRESO?
UVIRESO’s prototype UVresp 1.0. will be different from most anti-virus masks on the market for the following reasons:
Maximum effectiveness - UV radiation is capable of destroying 99% of airborne viruses. Our first UVresp masks will employ this technology to serve healthcare systems by cleaning air exhaled by a patient. Later models will purify inhaled air as well.
It kills virus particles, unlike most masks that hold viruses but aren’t able to kill them off. Our masks will destroy viruses preventing the spread of infection, particularly needed in hospitals.
Our masks will be safe and easy to clean, thanks to UV light’s ability to not leave any live virus particles.
GovTech Lab Lithuania project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Number and name of operational programme measure: 01.2.1-LVPA-V-842 Inogeb LT