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EIT RawMaterials mobilises to address unprecedented health situation

The EIT RawMaterials Community takes action on the global health crisis

EIT RawMaterials has extensive knowledge in the raw materials sector connecting partners from leading industry, research and technology organisations and higher education to find innovative solutions to global challenges. EIT RawMaterials partners, as well as talented entrepreneurs, have mobilised their forces to find novel solutions to fight COVID-19 and support their local communities in this challenging time.

VTT has started developing a rapid test for coronavirus

EIT RawMaterials partner VTT is working on a new testing method based on detection of viral antigens for the COVID-19 virus together with the joint vaccine research center of HUS and the University of Helsinki – new test would enable fast and early diagnosis. The goal of the rapid test is to provide healthcare professionals with an accurate, fast, and resource-efficient method to detect coronavirus infections early. The development of the rapid test is carried out by VTT together with MeVac – Meilahti Vaccine Research Center. The project is also actively seeking Finnish companies to join cooperation.

The rapid testing method is based on the detection of viral antigens in nasopharyngeal samples, and it will make it possible to diagnose COVID-19 at an early stage of the disease. The test is designed to be performed by health care personnel – at least in its first phase. The results, however, will be returned significantly faster than with existing tests, within 15 minutes or less. The new test would also be considerably more cost-efficient than current testing methods. The antibody development has already started at VTT, and the first versions of the test are expected during the fall.

BASF 3D printing solutions for protective face shields supporting hospitals

BASF is printing to fight against COVID-19. 3D Printing Solutions team and colleagues across diverse divisions have activated their private and company printers to support hospitals with the urgently required frames for protective face shields that effectively protect healthcare workers from infection. EIT RawMaterials partner has already produced more than 1 000 frames and is joining forces with partners in the Additive Manufacturing industry to be able to supply even more frames in a shorter time.

Arkema sets up emergency manufacture of alcohol-based solution for hospitals

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic and the health situation, EIT RawMaterials partner Arkema has decided to repurpose a production line in order to manufacture 20 tons of alcohol-based solution per week to be distributed free of charge and as a matter of urgency to hospitals in France.

In this time of health crisis, the Arkema Group will be using a pilot line at its Rhône Alpes Research Center (CRRA), near Lyon, which will be dedicated to the manufacture of an alcohol-based solution in order to help out healthcare professionals now under considerable strain. The solution will be supplied to the French health authorities and will be earmarked in particular for the mass restocking of public hospitals. Accordingly, Arkema has been granted all necessary administrative authorizations.

Spanish National Research organisation CSIC launches a project on genomic epidemiology to predict the evolution of the new coronavirus

The project called “Addressing unknowns of COVID-19 transmission and infection combining pathogen genomics and epidemiology to inform public health interventions“ with a budget of EUR 740 000 combines genomic data with clinic microbiology, epidemiology and phylogenetics. This study will compare the coronavirus genome of infected patients from microbiology data in hospitals throughout Spain. This ambitious scientific project is led by researchers from CSIC in collaboration with 40 hospitals from Spain comparing genoma of the new coronavirus in patients enduring COVID-19 to better understand and predict the evolution of the virus epidemic. This study will provide information to health authorities in the country and data generated will be made available in public repositories as well as in the global platform

The project is led by researcher Iñaki Comas from the Valencia Biomedicine Institute (IBV-CSIC), together with researcher Fernando González Candelas, from System Integrative Biology Institute CSIC-I2SysBio and the University of Valencia. Valencia regional government is providing support through their foundation for health and biometric research Fundación para el Fomento de la Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica (FISABIO).

Politecnico di Milano has started to certify and test personal protective equipment to fight COVID-19

The Politecnico di Milano has kicked off the PoliMask project in response to the request of the Lombardy Region engaged in the procurement of personal protective equipment for health during the COVID-19 emergency.

Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) provides support to the Lombardy Region for the creation of a local (regional and national) production chain of surgical masks, FFP2 and FFP3 masks for healthcare use, protective gowns for healthcare workers, glasses and other protective devices. EIT RawMaterials partner also collaborates with the Lombardy Region, the Higher Institute of Health and INAIL for the definition of a simplified test protocol, necessary for the certification in derogation of the devices, pursuant to Article 15 of the Law Decree No. 17 “Cura Italia” of 17 March 2020 The Rector, as President of CRUI, shares the test protocols with the various universities at the national level and coordinates their contributions.

POLIMI is responsible for the experimental verification of the effectiveness of new surgical masks and FFP2 and FFP3 masks. All tests are performed free of charge, as a further guarantee of the impartiality of the polytechnic as a third party. The Departments of Aerospace Sciences and Technologies, Energy and Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta” have created a test chain in record time which covers almost all the tests necessary for the certification of surgical masks and personal protective equipment.

AJELIS is mobilising to propose solutions to protect the population from COVID-19

AJELIS has received numerous requests for supplies of HYGIAFELT® – a sterilisable biocidal antibacterial and antiviral material. These requests come from health workers, law enforcement personnel and close relations who have little or no masks. To respond to this emergency situation, AJELIS is participating in a voluntary action with a network of seamstresses of hand-made masks from Gif-sur-Yvette and Juvisy-sur-Orge.

AJELIS HYGIAFELT protective masks and air filters of all types have successfully passed the DGA breathability tests and will be used as a barrier patch with biocidal properties intended to deactivate bacteria and viruses from contact.

Trinity College Dublin establishes COVID-19 immunology research hub

Trinity College Dublin joins forces with AIB (Allied Irish Banks) to urgently accelerate the college’s immunology project tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will involve scientists and immunologists working on basic and applied research, and infectious disease consultants, immunologists, respiratory disease physicians and intensive care specialists working with COVID-19 patients. AIB is putting EUR 2.4 million into the hub, which aims to discover drugs and vaccines against the coronavirus, and will work on commercial antibody tests and investigating if recovered COVID-19 patients are immune to further infection with the virus.

aSmartWorld connects elder people with their families providing refurbished smartphones and communication credits

As retirement homes are closed due to the quarantine, a lot of our seniors are completely isolated from the outside world. aSmartWorld, a young Belgian start-up involved in the refurbishment and recirculation of smartphones through a local circular economy, decided to react quickly.

aSmartWorld configures smartphones which are easy to use and delivers them to the retirement homes. This action is centralised on a Facebook group page “Familles Connectées #covid19“. Through this tool, retirement homes have the opportunity to dispose of these smartphones. This page will enable, thereafter, the creation of a real community with a common purpose. In less than a week, the start-up has already delivered to 20 retirement homes, where more than 15 of them have reached the team directly via the Facebook group and 50 more are already on the waiting list! In total, already over 3 000 seniors have been (re)connected to their families thanks to this initiative. The team still has more than 150 000 elder people to (re)connect!