Research Success in One-off Collaborative Research Fund Coronavirus Disease and Novel Infectious Disease Exercise

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Dr. Carol Lin, an expert on microbial fermentation and bioprocessing, will lead the project in collaboration with nine leading scientists from disciplines of aerosol dynamics, infectious disease transmission risk and epidemiology, medical textile materials, sustainability, and waste valorisation in four major research universities in Hong Kong and the top epidemiology hospital in Guangzhou. SEE faculty members Prof. Chak K. Chan, Dr. Shauhrat Chopra, Dr. Walid Daoud and Dr.Edwin Tso, together with four external collaborators from The University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Southern Medical University in Guangzhou are co-principal investigators of this project.

Since the outbreak of Coronaviruses (COVID-19) pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) is in pressing need to reduce the risk of viral transmission in healthcare settings.  Severe shortages in the global supply chain of PPE was observed due to an unprecedented surge in global demand. Moreover, massive increase of medical waste due to enforcement of infection control measures. Therefore, technology-integrated biorefineries focus on the material recovery approach to resolve the twin problems of the global waste burden and severe PPE storages is an evolving area where research and development is urgently needed. 

The aim of this project is to develop food waste-derived non-woven medical textiles via electrospinning for healthcare apparel to limit the transmission of COVID-19. The proposed work signifies a new direction in the field of engineering hydrophobic surfaces with the combination of electrospinning and electrospraying techniques, and the use of biodegradable polymers derived from waste stream. In addition, environmental and economic impacts/benefits associated with this new sustainable bio-based medical textile production methodology will be evaluated.

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