Companies adapting and innovating to help fight COVID-19

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Nottingham Spirk, a Cleveland-based innovation hub with a strong history in medical device innovation, is helping companies across the U.S. adjust their product strategies and design new products to help combat the coronavirus PPE shortages and disinfectant worries within hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Nottingham Spirk has partnered with researchers at the Case Western Reserve University’s Sears think

innovation team, Penn State Behrend and local manufacturing companies to design a facial shield to be mass produced for medical professionals who are treating patients with COVID-19. The new design creates a shield that is thinner, with components that can be cut on a rolling die machine, reducing the cutting time from 30 seconds to less than one second. The group also switched to a polypropylene frame to create even more efficiency as the original design was configured for a 3D printer with a minimum build time of three hours per frame. Injection molding takes less than 40 seconds.

An added benefit – the headbands produced through traditional 3D printing can be sterilized only in a hydrogen peroxide vapor chamber, whereas the new design can be sterilized in a medical autoclave, which is standard equipment in most medical settings.

With the capacity to produce approximately 5,000 face shields each day, the team has produced nearly 240,000 shields and has made the pattern available via open source on their website for other manufacturers to carry it forward even further.

For another collaboration, Nottingham Spirk has partnered with Sterifre Medical Inc. to bring to market the first automated point-of-care system that can disinfect medical devices and personal care items at once against COVID-19, and is soon-to-be EPA approved to produce. What started as a dental tool was innovated to become the patented Sterifre AURA system to help fight COVID-19. The system is comprised of microspray hydrogen and cold plasma ozone in unique combinations, operating at room temperature and atmospheric pressure to disinfect at a fraction of the time and significantly more effective in comparison to chemical methods against the COVID 19 virus. As a leading U.S. innovator, Nottingham Sprik has been awarded more patents than Thomas Edison’s team and is the company behind the first Spinbrush and Purell.

In a traditional hospital setting, nurses wipe down equipment and surfaces with chemical disinfectants. For those to be effective, the surface must remain wet for several minutes – and most nurses don’t have the time to sit and monitor. The AURA System is the size of a microwave oven and can hold 8-10 items (without using heat which makes it safe for electronics). The process:  insert items and come back in a few minutes to completely disinfected items. In the meantime, nurses can do other important things. Though there are similar devices that will clean just one item at a time, this is the first automated system for multiple items to be disinfected quicker and more efficiently. In addition, the AURA System consumable lasts for two to three weeks – so one consumable takes the place of about 22 containers of disinfecting wipes, making it much more environmentally friendly.

Sterifre AURA System has shown efficacy against more difficult-to-kill strains of the virus under the EPA Emerging Pathogens Program and has been confirmed, upon EPA registration, to be effective against COVID-19. A typical review process could take years, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the EPA agreed to expedite registration and approval of the product. Once approved, the device will go into production in a matter of weeks.

The AURA System will be manufactured by Sparton Medical Systems located in Strongsville, Ohio. Sterifre has already received a significant number of requests from hospitals and will begin taking customer orders in June. Once the EPA gives its fast-tracked approval, Sterifre will be live in hospitals across the U.S. to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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