Technology Insights

Top Covid-19 innovations 2021: Medical devices and transmission prevention

Ella Cliff

Ella Cliff

Digital Content Intern

In the second of our COVID-19 innovation blogs, we’ve gathered the top research and innovations covering medical devices and transmission prevention that were submitted to our second COVID-19 open call for research. These technologies include point-of-care diagnostic devices, novel PPE equipment and clothing, and antiviral delivery systems. For further reading, you can view the full list of COVID-19 innovations submitted to the call in our open research directory.

How to review the projects

A non-confidential summary of each the top COVID-19 innovations featured in this blog is hosted on IN-PART’s matchmaking platform for university-industry collaboration. Set up an account (it’s completely free), login, and follow the links below.

How to connect with the academic teams behind the projects

If you see a project that aligns with your company’s research priorities, you can make a request for more information directly through the article on IN-PART. The academic team or project lead will then send you a response by email.

Top Covid-19 innovations 2021: Medical devices and transmission prevention

Stable storage of vaccines at ambient temperature

COVID-19 has driven the rapid development and deployment of new vaccines that are temperature sensitive at every point from manufacture to delivery, creating strain on existing cold chain delivery systems. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte have established an innovative processing technique to combat this challenge, which utilises a near-infrared laser to aid in the drying of samples in less than 60 minutes, facilitating stable long-term storage of vaccines at ambient temperatures.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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A pocket-sized diagnostic

This rapid and low-cost diagnostic sensor developed by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania is based on a printed circuit-board electrode and can be connected to a smartphone to detect viral infections, making it ideal for monitoring population levels and tracing outbreaks of COVID-19.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Detection of respiratory infections in just 2-3 minutes

Oxford University Innovation scientists have created a technology for the rapid detection of respiratory infections, which can be integrated into a simple device for patient consultation that enables high-quality results in 2-3 minutes. It can identify the presence of bacteria and viruses, even pinpointing whether viruses are SARS-COV-2, the flu, or a common cold, which allows specific and targeted treatment.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Antiviral diagnostic solution to improve pandemic response

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the demand for effective preparation and relevant response to a pandemic scenario, including the need for improved laboratory testing capacity. ViralFx is an integrated antiviral diagnostic solution developed by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, combining multiple technologies to rapidly identify and respond to pandemic outbreaks and future emerging pathogens. 

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Rapid sterilisation of face masks at home

Ultraviolet light at specific wavelengths is an effective method of sterilisation as it breaks down the outer protein coating of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, rendering the virus inactive. Scientists at Florida Atlantic University have developed a portable device that uses ultraviolet light to effectively kill bacteria, viruses, yeast, and mould spores, allowing the simultaneous sanitisation of multiple objects in less than 5 minutes, including face masks.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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The novel nebuliser making drug delivery easier

Nebu-Flow is a patented nebuliser technology developed by researchers at the University of Glasgow that provides precise control of drug formulations, including aerosol droplet size, facilitating efficient drug delivery through a portable, silent, user-friendly device that is easy to clean and can deliver a range of formulations, providing the patient with a single instrument for different drugs.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Nasal spray for COVID-19 prevention and treatment

Airborne respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing are a prime source of person-to-person transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus via the nasal cavity. Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a potent antiviral nasal spray that prevents COVID-19 by inhibiting SARS-CoV-2, and can be used to treat newly infected individuals by reducing higher viral loads.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Determining disease severity via an app

Scientists at Innovate Calgary have developed an analysis app, capable of being used at the level of a single individual determining their disease risk based on their individual health and medical records, through to city or country-wide use to help build COVID-19 response strategies.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Non-toxic antiviral materials

Materials like bleach and hand sanitiser destroy viruses, prevent infection and stop antiviral resistance, but are limited by their toxicity to human cells. In response to this challenge, researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a non-toxic, highly versatile polymer that is effective against a range of viruses, including Coronaviruses, Ebola, and HIV, and can be incorporated into cleaning products, coatings, and textiles.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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New generation face masks to inactivate COVID-19

Face masks are now commonplace to mitigate COVID-19 transmission in our everyday lives but their effectiveness varies due to the lack of standardisation in their design. A team at Innovate Calgary has proposed a new generation of face masks that can not only effectively filter but also inactivate coronavirus particles, with the ability to be tailored to kill other infectious agents like influenza.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new COVID-19 innovations feature. 

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Portable face mask decontamination in 60 seconds

A team at Case Western Reserve University has developed a lightweight, portable device that can sanitise a single mask in less than a minute. This technology utilises UV rays to rapidly decontaminate medical masks, garments, and other supplies in healthcare facilities and other consumer environments, which can effectively tackle the struggle to maintain resource availability.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Quick and colourful detection of COVID-19

Rapid detection of viruses, including COVID-19, is instrumental in mitigating their effects on society, however, established tests typically come with an undesirable price tag! Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have invented a low-cost colorimetric biosensor, which uses cotton swabs and enzyme-modified gold nanoparticles to test for COVID-19 in less than 5 minutes, and can be modified for the detection of other viral infections.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Effective ventilation of four patients with a single vent

The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed resources, and more specifically, critical ventilator shortages have sadly meant the denial of lifesaving healthcare to those infected. However, researchers at Innovate Calgary have developed an innovative solution that enables a single ventilator to simultaneously treat up to 4 patients, prioritising patient safety and cost-effectiveness.

Read the full project summary to learn more about this new top Covid-19 innovations 2021 feature. 

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Technologies written by Ella Cliff.

Edited by Ruth Kirk. Formatting by Frances Wilkinson.

Copyrights reserved unless otherwise agreed – IN-PART Publishing Ltd., 2021: ‘Top Covid-19 innovations 2021: Medical devices and transmission prevention’


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