Gear to protect athletes from coronavirus
Graphene, athletic gear companies team up to slow COVID-19 Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – June 10, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 6:20am
Graphene Composites and G-Form are teaming up to develop and distribute athletic protective equipment that not only guards the wearer against blunt trauma but also from viruses such as COVID-19.
G-Form already rides on the cutting-edge of technology when it comes to manufacturing comfortable athletic protective gear. The company's SmartFlex pads are constructed from materials that can change molecular structure on contact – soft when lightly touched, becoming harder with stronger impact.
Now this "Made in the USA" athletic gear company that embraces "the geeky science" plans to provide athletes with an extra layer of protection by treating its sports gear and apparel with a silver nanoparticle-graphene oxide ink developed by Graphene Composites that captures and kills coronavirus droplets that spread from an infected person.
Graphene Composites, a United Kingdom-based company that specializes in nanomaterials technology, is already testing a graphene-based virucidal ink that can be incorporated into N95 masks and other medical gear to protect against COVID-19.
The company says this product is the first to be shown to both capture and kill coronavirus.
"Our team at GC has been aggressively developing this solution to provide healthcare workers and athletes the confidence to perform their tasks. Quickly developing and deploying our virus-killing ink would make a significant difference in slowing the rate of infection – thus saving many lives," said Graphene Composites CEO Sandy Chen.
Shifting production at its Rhode Island facility from athletic personal protective equipment to face shields for novel coronavirus first responders, G-Form has already joined the fight in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Over the past two months, the company has delivered more than 1 million face shields to those on the coronavirus frontlines.
"We take great honor in supporting the efforts to protect our healthcare heroes with the necessary PPE," the company wrote. "As an added benefit, we are able to keep our employees working at a time when most small businesses are being hit hard."
Adding a virucidal ink to face shields and face masks, healthcare workers will now receive the highest level of protection available, making current PPE's more effective which is a key priority to both G-Form and Graphene Composites.
As economies around the world re-open, an increase in COVID-19 cases and the need to protect healthcare workers will likely rise. This partnership will provide healthcare workers with an extra layer of protection.
The virucidal athletic gear they plan to produce may also result in a few less cases to treat as high schools, universities, and professional sports organizations actively plan to re-start their operations this summer.
G-Form says it is paramount that every effort is made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the playing field.
"Athletes around the world are anxiously awaiting to return to their sports but understand there will be necessary precautions in the new normal. Whether you are a professional sport league commissioner, a youth league administrator, or a high school athletic director, protecting participants from further coronavirus spread is their overriding concern, said G-Form CEO Glen Giovanucci. "In working closely with Sandy and his team at Graphene Composites, we are optimistic about our ability to become an integral part of the safe return to team sports, in addition to providing improved PPE to healthcare professionals."
In addition to pretreating G-Form athletic equipment and apparel, the virus-killing formula could be used on footwear, gym equipment, and other medical PPE.
The virus killing graphene-silver nanoparticle products are in active testing at a leading Ivy League university and laboratories in both the UK and US, with patents pending.
Once these tests are successfully completed and Environmental Protection Agency approvals are received, Graphene Composites and G-Form plan to immediately begin producing virus killing athletic and medical protective gear.