The scientific community across the world races to provide vaccines, treatments, and protections from the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, including chemical engineers.
Apart from social distancing, there is need to ensure greater safety from the virus in means of hand washes, sanitizers, PPE kits and the development of an unfailing vaccine.
The development of effective hand sanitizers involves research on quick action effectual alcohols and other chemical which destroy almost all categories of pathogenic organisms. This composition and its large-scale production for the masses is designed by a chemical engineer.
Masks have become an integral part of a COVID 19 invaded world. Chemical engineers are working to develop a viral, filtration mask that will provide strong protection along with high breathability and comfort. The focus is on developing new nanoengineered membrane materials including different nano porous filter materials for protective fabrics, respirators, and rapid separation of biological particles from clinical samples.
- PPE Kits
Designing PPE kits that are breathable for the skin while offering maximum protection
from the virus to the wearer is another challenge chemical engineers want to tackle. The PPE kits now are not breathable and cannot be worn for long periods without uncomfortable consequences. The development of suitable fabric which achieves the goals of safety and comfort needs contribution from chemical engineers.
There are very few options available in therapeutical drugs when it comes to treating COVID-19. Chemical engineers are collaborating with virologists to help expedite SARS-cov2 antiviral drug screening by incorporating nano-vesicles into a high throughput screening process.
- Rapid diagnosis and Vaccine development
Chemical engineers are trying to create a membrane-incorporated, viral-particles-separation device. This device could be used to separate virus particles or serum from 15 mL whole blood in 10 minutes without the need for a centrifuge or electricity. This can help in developing methods of rapid diagnosis and expediting vaccine development.
Chemical engineers in the pharmaceutical and research fields are directly involved in the development of COVID 19 disease fighting equipment and drugs against the disease.