Problem

"Hands of health care workers are a main cause (up to 90%) for pathogenic germ transmission."²

In retirement homes and hospitals worldwide, many professionals (doctors, nurses,...) as well as patients become infected with COVID-19 and other pathogens. Hereby, a significant part of pathogen transmission is based on the hands, mostly via gloves. Every year, there are more than 250 billion gloves used in healthcare institutions worldwide. While the transmission of respiratory viruses in the facial area can be reduced by suitable masks, a solution must also be found for transmission via hands.

When examination gloves are retrieved from commercially available glove dispenser boxes, usually the outer glove surfaces get contaminated, and bacteria and viruses (e.g. COVID-19) are spread in health care institutions. As a result, millions of people worldwide get infected.

Solution

We offer a glove box design solution which highly reduces the virus level on medical gloves (by approx. 90%)³ and, thus, can save millions of lives. Our glove box design for medical gloves allows safe glove removal without touching the glove surface. When using our product, gloves are retrieved at their glove cuffs without any outside contamination and cross-contamination of viruses and bacteria is significantly reduced. As the glove box design is very simple to implement, no extra cost for production and distribution is required.

There exist a few similar solutions, but they are complex and expensive. Our solution is different because it is a simple and low cost product, that can be implemented immediately as the new glove box design just needs to be ordered from glove distributors. Current production procedures can be used without change of machinery. The distributors just need to specify the preferred design to the glove manufacturers and order the dispenser boxes according to the new design. The new boxes consist of cardboard, they have the same dimensions as the usual boxes and no additional material and transportation expenditure is needed.

How we built it during the weekend

During the EU-hackathon we created a full-size, real prototype by transforming commercially available glove boxes into the new design, an optimal web presence, video material illustrating the huge impact of the new model, as well as a digital model (e.g. digital drawings).

One of our team members has over 35 years of experience in the glove manufacturing/distribution industry and currently works as a consultant for large glove manufacturers. Other team members include a medical expert and a business graduate.

The impact

According to a scientific study, when gloves are only touched at the cuffs during removal from specially designed glove containers, an average 90% pathogen reduction on the whole gloves is achieved (in comparison with standard boxes)³. With our model, even higher reduction rates on the relevant glove areas (such as the palms and the fingertips) can be assumed. Furthermore, as there is no extra cost in glove production and distribution due to the simple and easily adaptable design change, it can quickly and easily be implemented in the production chain. As a result, hospitals, nursing homes and the food industry could order the new Safe Glove Packs from their distributors instead of the standard glove boxes without extra cost and save millions of lives.

Technically, the world capacity of medical examination gloves could be changed to Safe Glove Pack within a few months (provided, of course, that glove distributors would place their orders accordingly).

The necessities to continue this project

Primarily, we need financing (e.g. in form of public funds or business angels), contacts to glove distributors and hospitals for large-scale prototype testing and improvement, as well as governmental recommendations regarding hygienic glove retrieval.

Our activities for the next months

1: Preparation of project plan, preparatory work for financing

2: Company formation

3: Rental and installation of workstations

4: Optimization of social media presence

5: Involvement of distribution partners, glove manufacturers, health facilities and health authorities

6: Start of worldwide marketing

7: Finished development & control for pilot production

8: Testing in health care facilities, evaluations and first publications

The value of the solution after the crisis

The new glove box design has the unexpected advantage that in spite of the simple design, hygiene during glove dispensing is highly improved. Innovative features and patentability had already been confirmed.

After the current crisis, this solution can also be very effective in greatly reducing the already existing and future spread of other viruses and bacteria, as hands play the most important part in contamination cycles.

We would love to work together with experts and discuss possibilities how we could offer this design to all EU states for the greater public good.

²Semmelweis Symposium, Medical University of Vienna, July 2018

³Assadian, O., et al. (2016); J Hosp Infect 94(3): 259-262

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