Sometime in mid-March, around the time of switch to remote learning, and shut down of on-campus labs, Lehigh University associates Nelson Tanu and Patricia M. Smith received an email from an anesthesiologist at St. Luke’s University.
Earlier, the associate at St. Luke’s University anticipated that a shortage of N95 masks would increase the risk of doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients. While associates at St. Luke’s were working to increase their supply of essential personal protective equipment, the hospital vied to find a safe and effective way to extend the use of existing supply.
Researchers stride to find use of UV for Shortage of Masks
Meanwhile, St Luke’s University associate Roscher had been conducting his personal research about the use of UV light for decontamination. Also, peer-reviewed literature in medical journals suggested, in a pandemic situation, UV light could be a viable alternative in the event of shortage of masks. This made the St. Luke’s University associate seek help from associates at Lehigh University.
Nonetheless, St. Luke’s, like many other hospitals, is trying to conserve whatever is available. And, the idea behind to approach Lehigh University is to able to provide a new mask for whoever needed it. But, the reality is to conserve whatever is available.
In response to the mail for help, the Lehigh University associate replied a swift yes, believing it could be done. This was followed by discussions colleagues and St. Luke University associate himself. Next, this was followed by discussions with an enthusiastic team of staff members and students at Lehigh’s Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics and Lehigh’s department of computer and electrical engineering. The volunteers at these institutions who came forward for the research have been practicing social distancing in their homes.