To Beat COVID-19, We Need A PPE Revolution

This pandemic has been declared a war, and COVID-19, the enemy. If one may build on that characterization, it is a war fought on five fronts: PPE, testing, contact tracing, social distancing, and the vaccine/cure. We’re begrudgingly coming to terms with the reality that,  on every front, we are losing.  


In this war, PPE is our armor but it hasn’t evolved since the Spanish Influenza of 1918. Placed side by side, photos of two pandemics a century apart, strike an eerie contrast that highlights just how little our approach has changed. Yet the ubiquity of masks, then and now, fails to deflect from an inconvenient truth; masks are insufficient in protecting against aerosol-transmissible pathogens. 


In our modern PPE arsenal, experts say the best protection against aerosol-transmissible pathogens is a Powered Air Purifying Respirator or PAPR. These are commonly used in industrial and healthcare settings where airborne hazards are present. But PAPRs are unaffordable (on average $1800 per unit) and, consequently, inaccessible. To beat COVID19, we need a PPE revolution that will change that.

PAPRs work by, first, creating an impermeable seal around the wearer’s face or head. Second, a blower fan channels an ample supply of filtered air into the enclosed space, creating positive pressure. By creating a seal around the wearer and purifying their air, PAPRs effectively block pathogen transmission through droplets and aerosols. 


Today, we’re launching a proprietary low-cost consumer PAPR called the BioVYZR 1.0. It’s an air-purifying impermeable outer layer designed to drastically reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. With 360 degrees of protection, it filters all the air that comes in and all the air that goes out. We’ve designed it to offer self-isolation, without the social distancing. That’s the power of PPE that actually works. 

In parallel, our launch today is also marked by a commitment to getting better PPE to front-line medical personnel who face the highest risk of infection. For every BioVYZR pre-ordered through our IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign, we will donate a medical BioVYZR to overwhelmed and underresourced hospitals at home and abroad. 


When used in a healthcare setting, our medical BioVYZRs have distinct benefits that go beyond superior protection. These include, but are not limited to:


  • not requiring a full face seal to be effective (like masks) 
  • preventing inadvertent face touching and cross-contamination
  • not obstructing the face and mouth for better communication
  • facilitating patient interactions and close-proximity care
  • they can be worn all day long, inside and out of the hospital
  • they come with disposable sterile covers that can be safely donned/doffed
  • their filters can last much longer than N95 masks and require less handling (for replacement)


With innovative forms of effective PPE armor like the BioVYZR, an end to this pandemic becomes more tangible. The requirements of our new normal become more defined.  We can start taking pro-active steps towards getting our economies moving again. It can start by first equipping frontline medical workers and protecting them as they save countless lives. Then we must protect all essential workers and answer their rightful calls for safe and effective gear. This must be swiftly followed by equipping law enforcement, government employees, workers, teachers, caregivers, etc. 


A true PPE revolution demands effective personal protective equipment for all. If we were all truly protected, it would be COVID-19’s transmission rates crashing, and not our global economy. 





RESOURCES:


  1. Protective equipment against COVID-19 needs to go further, scientists say (https://physicsworld.com/a/protective-equipment-against-covid-19-needs-to-go-further-scientists-say/)
  2. Everyone Thinks They’re Right About Masks by Ed Yong (April 1, 2020)(https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-pandemic-airborne-go-outside-masks/609235/)
  3. Do N95 respirators provide 95% protection level against airborne viruses, and how adequate are surgical masks? (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16490606)
  4. Respirator Fact Sheet for SARS (CDC) (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/factsheets/respsars.html)
  5. Health workers need optimal respiratory protection for Ebola (https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/09/commentary-health-workers-need-optimal-respiratory-protection-ebola)
  6. COVID-19 transmission messages should hinge on science (Dr. Lisa Brosseau) (https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/03/commentary-covid-19-transmission-messages-should-hinge-science)
  7. Collection of photos from the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 *https://designyoutrust.com/2020/03/historical-photos-of-the-1918-spanish-flu-that-show-what-a-global-pandemic-looked-like-in-the-1910s/)