Decontamination research to improve sanitation and PPE
Researchers at Sandia Labs are testing the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) to safely and reliably sterilize N95 masks and other critical medical supplies for reuse by health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many conventional sterilization methods cannot be used because they degrade mask performance. Supercritical CO2 is a solvent with the ability to penetrate microporous materials without leaving residue and alleviates the need to use harsher, more hazardous chemicals for sterilization. Supercritical CO2 cleaning equipment is becoming increasingly popular as an eco-friendly alternative in the dry-cleaning industry and, if deemed an appropriate and effective solution, could be rapidly deployed at wide scale.
Bioscience focused on COVID-19 treatment, vaccines
Sandia is working on creating a deployable antiviral countermeasure for COVID-19 using CRISPR-based technology. Once the research is complete, the antiviral will be able to be customized to respond to many different viruses, including coronavirus. The team is conducting proof-of-concept trials now. The goal of this research is to find new, “reloadable” countermeasures for viral outbreaks that do not have to be re-invented every time. Once the research is complete, the antiviral will be able to be customized to respond to many different viruses, including coronavirus. This project is funded by the Department of Defense through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Economic support during pandemic
New Mexico’s Wayward Sons Craft-Distillery in Santa Fe reconfigured its operations to produce a hand sanitizer called Elbow Bump. The distillery approached Sandia Labs to test the hand sanitizer developed to help with the current severe product shortages. Labs researchers provided technical consulting and resources to help the company determine if the product can be scaled up to large quantities while maintaining its effectiveness. The partnership with the distillery and Sandia was established through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program that pairs Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories with small businesses facing technical challenges. The program provides access to labs expertise and capabilities at no cost to the business.