The University of the Philippines Diliman College of Engineering (UP Diliman COE) is developing a prototype for a cleaning chamber that uses ultraviolet light exposure to disinfect Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) used by health workers.
UP Diliman announced on March 27, 2020, the College of Engineering’s initiative, along with other ongoing projects of various colleges, in response to the need for solutions addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has reached the Philippines.
The UV Cleaning Chamber Project is fabricating a prototype that is based on ultraviolet (UV-C) light exposure to be used for disinfecting used personal protective equipment (PPE). The process allows previously used PPEs to be safely re-used by medical personnel caring for COVID-19 patients and helps address the problem of the scarce supply of PPEs.
The cleaning chamber is going to use a germicidal ultraviolet system that would emit a specific wavelength that can destroy viral microbes. It makes the virus lose its ability to reproduce by breaking their DNA rendering them harmless.
The chamber will also pass the PPEs through black light. If bodily fluids are still present in hospital gowns, it indicates the presence of bacteria and the potential coronavirus.
The UP Diliman COE team is composed of Florencio C. Ballesteros Jr. and Eligia D. Clemente with COE Dean Ferdinand G. Manegdeg and professors Annaliza Rollon and Louernie de Sales-Papa of the Department of Environmental Engineering.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases is causing massive demand and shortages on personal protective equipment (PPE) used by medical personnel and health workers that put frontliners in danger against the coronavirus.
The initiative answers the need of the Department of Health (DOH) which is looking for ways to extend the life of PPEs by decontaminating N95 masks, gowns, gloves, and other PPEs. so they could still be reused by healthcare workers who are treating patients with COVID-19.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the government is working with their partners from the private sector to address what she regarded as a global shortage of PPEs.
The UV Cleaning Chamber is one of the devices developed by the country’s premier state university in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The UP National Institutes of Health developed the COVID-19 Detection Kit, the first Philippine-made rapid diagnostic test kit, which has been supported by the Department of Science and Technology.
The UP and DOST-developed RxBox vital signs monitor for COVID-19 patients are also now in use at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
The UP-PGH is also leading the clinical trials on the use of Philippine Virgin Coconut Oil as a treatment for COVID-19 patients.
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