Washington, D.C. – May 11, 2020, U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) announces the National Science Foundation grant award to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston for COVID research:
"As the country is still working to slow the spread if COVID-19, medical workers are still experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, and gowns. To prevent the spread of the virus, medical personnel are instructed to discard used PPE. However, many are being forced to reuse personal protective equipment, increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19.
"Fortunately, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized the talents and expertise that we have at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, awarding them $79,000 for COVID research on sterilization of PPE for safe reuse. The research project at UTMB will examine dry heat sterilization and will provide evidence-based guidelines for the time required to achieve sterilization at a given temperature. According to the NSF, 'the project will also enable prediction of the lifetime of human coronaviruses across various climates, which will be of extreme importance to epidemiologists in predicting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the severity of a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic that may accompany the return of colder weather this upcoming autumn and winter.'
"I am optimistic that this grant project will lead to an unprecedented understanding of the thermal inactivation of viruses, while providing the basis for modeling viruses that cause future outbreaks."