Close-up image of the coronavirus

SEAS Response to COVID-19: Projects and Activities

 

Members of the SEAS community—faculty members, staff, and students—are working on the following solutions to help combat COVID-19 or respond to COVID-19-related issues:

 

Plasma brush box

A “plasma brush” to sterilize packages and PPE

Destie Provenzano and Dr. Yuan James Rao with respirators

Couple foregoes honeymoon, uses time instead to design and 3D print PPE

Dr. Michael Keidar and his team have several projects based on cold plasma for dry surfaces decontamination and airborne virus decontamination. They also are working to develop a “plasma brush” to decontaminate protective masks, gloves, and other necessary gear so caregivers can reuse them. Dr. Keidar has received a National Science Foundation RAPID grant for this work.

Biomedical engineering PhD candidate Destie Provenzano and her husband, Dr. Yuan James Rao, MD (GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences), had to cancel their honeymoon in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they determined to use the time instead to help health care workers. They are doing this by developing 3D-printed N95 respirators to supplement the rapidly depleting stocks of these and other PPE (personal protective equipment). They are assisted by Destie’s advisor Dr. Murray Loew and biomedical engineering students Konstantin Mitic and Sofian Obaid.

Contact icon

Contact icon

 

Zaghloul experiment graphic

Point-of-care device to self-test for COVID-19

Twitter app on phone

How Does Twitter Shape the Conversation around Covid-19?

Dr. Mona Zaghloul, her post-doc Yangyang Zhao, and Dr. Jeanne Jordan (Milken Institute School of Public Health) are collaborating on a point-of-care device with high accuracy and affordability that would allow people to self-test at home for COVID-19. The results could be collected and shared with local public health officials to control the spread of the disease. In the proposed work, they will develop a sensing system that can detect the COVID-19 virus through a smartphone camera. The device is based on optical plasmonics at the nanoscale and has been tested on molecules and on DNA in Dr. Zaghloul’s lab and at NIST. The team is now looking to test it on the corona virus.

Dr. David Broniatowski has initiated a number of projects to try to understand and combat misinformation around COVID-19. One in particular involves an open online database that he and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland have launched to help fellow researchers study COVID-19. Possible applications include the combating of misinformation, supporting messaging from public health organizations, and tracking information about the ongoing pandemic.

 

 

Contact icon

 

Danmeng Shuai

Effective, low-cost, scalable air filters for SARS-CoV-2 control

XPrize Pandemic Alliance logo

Partnership with XPRIZE Foundation’s Global Pandemic Alliance

Dr. Danmeng Shuai is collaborating with Dr. Yun Shen (Department of Environmental and Occupational Health) to develop effective, low-cost, and scalable air filters for SARS-CoV-2 control. The air filters are prepared by electro-spinning, and they are targeting virus removal in HVAC systems of buildings and by respirators. The investigators and PhD student Hongchen Shen will test the air filtration performance in the lab and also in a healthcare facility that houses COVID-19 patients. Dr. Shuai and Dr. Shen have received a National Science Foundation RAPID grant to develop the air filters for SARS-CoV-2 control. 

SEAS has entered into a partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation’s Global Pandemic Alliance, which is committed to catalyzing critical solutions to address COVID-19 and improve our ability to predict, prevent, and respond to future pandemics. The Alliance includes corporate, non-governmental organization, and university partners; GW is one of 11 universities partnering with the Alliance. The XPRIZE Foundation is the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, and its CEO is SEAS alumna Anousheh Ansari (MS ’91). Any faculty member who is interested in learning more about the partnership and about opportunities to lend their expertise to it should contact Ms. Annamaria Konya Tannon.

Learn more icon

 

 

 

GW Innovation Center logo

Crowd-sourcing innovation to combat COVID-19

Lance Hoffman headshot

COVID-19 website for medical personnel

The GW Innovation Center (GWIC) has launched a site to crowd-source projects aimed at responding to COVID-19 and to help match volunteers with appropriate project needs.

Dr. Lance Hoffman and Dr. Jordan Selzer (GW Medical School) and their team have launched a COVID-19 educational web application aimed at equipping healthcare providers with the knowledge to manage their response to the pandemic. It includes recommendations for everything from pre-hospital dispatch guidance to ICU ventilator management. The application was created using the most up-to-date literature, community best practices, and guidelines. It is continuously updated to reflect the changes in management as the literature evolves. Navigation is based on healthcare provider role and patient stage of care, and links sometimes include a current best practices section, suggestions and template hospital protocols, example policies, and training videos and photographs as appropriate.

Contact icon

Contact icon

 

Screen distance directions

GW Innovation Center coordinates hospital screening and face shields projects

Aylin Caliskan headshot

Biases in COVID-19-related tweets

The GW Innovation Center (GWIC) is teaming with Dr. David Lee, Dr. Carl Wick, and the GW Hospital to create semi-automated temperature screening kiosks and way-finding and signage at the hospital’s main entrance to divert staff through revised entrance/exit flow for screening and physical distancing. Biomedical engineering student Konstantin Mitic is coordinating a project between GW’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and the GW Department of Emergency Medicine to produce face shields for health care personnel. The Corcoran School is spearheading the project and is printing the face shields in its 3D printing “farm.”

Contact icon

 

 

 

Howie Huang headshot

Mapping the spread of discussion and information toward COVID-19 and the public health response

Image of green, plugged in Earth

Enterprise resilience course and planning for future pandemics

Dr. Howie Huang and his GraphLab, together with Dr. David Broniatowski and IDDP (Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics) researchers, are working to map the prevalence and spread of attitudes towards COVID-19 on online social media platforms. They are examining repositories of social media data related to the epidemic, starting as early as January 2020, to map the spread of discussion, information, and attitudes towards the disease and the public health response to the outbreak. Separately, his team also is working on machine learning algorithms for COVID-19 data analysis. 

The GW Environmental and Energy Management Institute (EEMI) is offering an online Enterprise Resilience three-week course (already in-session) that addresses black swan events including pandemics. They will offer another session of the course beginning in June. EEMI also is developing a webinar with Novartis on how corporate response to COVID-19 is informing resilience plans for future pandemics.  Dr. Jonathan Deason and Dr. Edward Saltzberg of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering are leading the projects.

Contact icon

Contact icon

 

Tool to help hospitals plan for supply shortages

Ms. Kelly Rickard, in collaboration with the pediatric emergency department at Children’s National Medical Center, has developed the “Comparing PPE Conservation Strategies” tool, an Excel-based simulation model intended to help healthcare centers estimate the consumption of various articles of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), based on site-specific information and general conservation strategies during the COVID-19 crisis where PPE shortages occur due to supply chain issues. Ms. Rickard is a doctoral candidate, advised by Dr. Rene van Dorp.

Contact icon