- Public Schools of the Tarrytowns
Sleepy Hollow HS Students Participate in the NYAS: Combatting COVID-19 Challenge
Sleepy Hollow High School Students Ryan Lyppens and Henry Poret worked with students from the Philippines, UK and Vietnam on the NYAS: Combatting COVID-19 Challenge. Below is the executive summary of their work.
COVID-19 Challenge Executive Summary
Project Name: Making Essential Equipment More Accessible to Mitigate the Overflow of Worldwide Healthcare Systems
Team Members: Eve Gittins, Ryan Lyppens, Phuc Nguyen, Henry Poret, and Lhiamarie Salvacion
Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) have put a massive strain on global healthcare systems. Demand for protective gear has now far outstripped the production capacities of manufacturers around the world. This, unfortunately, means that billions are not receiving the optimal security against the coronavirus that they need and deserve. Additionally, the most widely used PPE is inherently flawed. Typical PPE does not sufficiently protect against viruses such as COVID-19. For example, regular single-use gloves are equally hospitable to viruses as bare human skin. Secondly, the most popular PPE is disposable, meaning that countless plastic gloves and masks are filling up landfills and ending up in our precious natural ecosystems. Hence, it is imperative to improve PPE in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Making reusable PPE will mitigate this issue by rapidly reducing the massive strain on single-use PPE manufacturers. Additionally, creating PPE that is more protective against the virus will significantly reduce rates of infections. It will also be far less taxing on the environment. Finally, it will be more affordable than continuously buying single-use gear, which will in turn encourages people to wear it more often and for longer periods of time.
In order to alleviate the PPE crisis, we created a reusable and economical multi-layered material that can be used to make protective gear such as masks and gloves, as well as everyday items like towels, clothing, and bedsheets. Our solution should be easy to implement quickly. The top and bottom layers of the fabric will be interwoven with silver thread, thus providing antiviral properties because silver ions kill 99.9% of viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Only a minute portion of silver will be used, with just enough to give items their antiviral properties. A middle layer of activated carbon will increase the amount of silver that will ionize. This greatly improves on current silver-infused products which only allow for ionization through bonding with oxygen in the air. Consequently, our solution requires less silver than currently available silver-infused products while still retaining the same antiviral powers. Minimizing the amount of silver is optimal because silver is an expensive material, making it financially strenuous to mass-produce. Additionally, a reduced amount of silver is more eco-friendly because less will make its way into landfills and aquatic ecosystems, potentially poisoning the organisms that inhabit them. Less silver also means a safer product for consumers because it further minimizes the amount of a potentially toxic chemical. Finally, our solution is more cost-effective and comfortable than current options, which will encourage more people to wear PPE for longer periods of time in public, which will reinforce government health guidelines and help reduce infections.