03-31 coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

[Image above] An illustration by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Toilet paper shortages caused by people panic-buying the item are humorous—shortages of essential medical supplies are anything but.

As COVID-19 cases spike in countries around the world, health agencies are scrambling to secure face masks, respirator valves, and other essential medical supplies. And while there has been some success in locating previously forgotten stashes of such supplies, there are still far too few supplies to fulfill the current demand.

In response, some hospitals have turned to other avenues for securing supplies, including 3D printing, and people are pulling out their sewing machines to craft face masks. (These masks are no substitute for medical-grade N95 masks or disposable surgical masks, but they can free up surgical masks for people who are the highest risk.)

Here at ACerS, we recently received a question from one of our members—Which materials are best for masks for health care workers? This begs the larger question—How can ceramic and glass materials contribute to fighting COVID-19?

For the answers, we turn to you, our readers.

Which ceramic and glass materials are best for medical gear and devices? Are there methods for quickly and efficiently testing materials before putting them into application? Do you know or represent a company willing to help health agencies during this crisis, for example, by creating respirator valves?

Responses should be sent to bulletineditor@ceramics.org. In a future CTT, we will compile the responses.

While we remain physically distant during this time, we can band together socially to fight this virus by offering solutions only materials scientists know how.

Thank you and stay safe, everyone.