Diagnostics and Infection Control

Temperature and Coronavirus

Daniel Preston (Mechanical Engineering) has received a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research grant to study the effect of varying temperatures on the lifetime of the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diagnostic Testing

Bioengineers at Rice are working with the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center to develop an inexpensive, rapid, point-of-care (POC) diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2. POC diagnostics are an important element of pandemic response and can lead to better understanding of the extent of the pandemic, and earlier isolation of the symptomatic and asymptomatic carries, thus reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus - the cause of COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment

Rice is working with UTHealth to explore the effects of peroxide plasma sterilization on the structural integrity of N95 filter masks. Unlike low energy peroxide vapor, peroxide plasma is an only recently validated sterilization technique, and the effects of multiple sterilization cycles on the filter material is not well-understood. In this collaborative effort, Rice will use the Shared Equipment Authority's Scanning Electron Microscopy to image samples of masks that have been sterilized multiple times, looking for evidence of either particulate contamination or structural breakdown. This information will be used by UTHealth to help inform their SOPs on mask reuse, in order to extend the masks’ useful lifetime or prevent unintended viral exposure due to mask degradation.

Reduce Face-Touching

Jim Pomerantz (Psychological Sciences) and the Psychonomic Society have developed a list of five science-backed recommendations for kicking or minimizing the routine habit of touching one’s face in order to stop the spread of the virus and flatten the curve.