Since the beginning of the COVID – 19 pandemic CAPPA researchers have been exploring ways in which they can provide their services and expertise to help the fight against the virus. CAPPA have worked on both industry and fundamental research in order to help fight against COVID – 19 and provide their services where possible. CAPPA have been involved in research including the development of mask standardisation, determination of how well commonly available face mask materials supress the transmission of exhaled droplets, research into COVID-19 in wastewater and research with industry into portable sanitizing devices.

CAPPA researcher Dr Steven Darby has been involved in the development of the definition of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) standards for barrier masks as part of the Irish Delegation for the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). The NSAI standard for barrier masks was published and provides information for manufacturers and consumers in relation to barrier masks. The specification was developed in response to a request from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and with the view that many Irish manufacturing companies are trying to change their production lines in response to the pandemic. Munster Technological University (MTU) staff including Dr Darby, contributed as experts to the development of this document. As a result of his significant contribution to the document, Dr Darby was appointed to the Irish delegation to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), to assist with the developing the CEN Workshop Agreement for Community Face Coverings.

CAPPA was part of the MTU Team to receive funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for research into barrier masks to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The project titled MASK focuses on Making Aerosol Safety Known. The aim of the project was to determine how well commonly available face mask materials supress the transmission of exhaled droplets. Given that the reproduction rate of COVID-19 is linearly related to both the efficacy of the mask and the percentage of the population wearing masks, a small change in either makes a large change in disease transmission rates. It is therefore critical that large – scale mask usage, will involve optimally suppressive materials that are comfortable to wear for extended periods, can be produced in large quantities and are re-usable, inexpensive and will not negatively affect medical supplies. As a result of this multidisciplinary research, MTU won the prestigious SFI research Image of the Year Award 2020. The research image competition celebrates images captured by SFI funded researchers during the course of their research and the MTU team captured the winning image during their research on the MASK project.

CAPPA COVID - 19 Fundamental and Industry Research - CAPPA

CAPPA is a partner with Labskin, on research focused on detecting COVID-19 in real time in wastewater. CAPPA and Labskin adapted their project to focus on detecting COVID-19 in real time in wastewater after previously developing methods to monitoring pathogens such as E.coli in wastewater. The project consortium is now aiming to adapt the Remote Automated Water (RAW) test platform to detect and identify the virus in wastewater in real time. The team of physicists at CAPPA is adapting the RAW test platform to generate a greatly enhanced photonics signal to constantly monitor the chips. As soon as the virus binds, the data generated is picked up immediately by the artificial intelligence to signal that COVID-19 is present in the sample and to predict the size of the cluster.

CAPPA recently worked with CW Applied Technology on their research in the fight against COVID-19. CW Applied Technology were quick to react to COVID-19 crisis and designed and implemented MUV-X room sterilizer. It is a portable sanitizing device, which uses four high-output UV-C lamps to emit powerful beams of UV light, quickly sterilizing the air and all visible surfaces in a room. CW Applied Technology engaged with CAPPA in order to verify the performance of their MUV-X room sterilizer as well as fast tracking the commercialization process of the unit.

CAPPA is committed to providing its facilities and research expertise to help with the fight against COVID-19. We are available to speak with you regarding research projects, proposals and product solutions. If you wish to speak to a member of our team contact us here or email [email protected]