Advanced Protective Suit for Ebola Health Care Workers

An advanced protective suit for health care workers who treat Ebola patients, devised by a Johns Hopkins University team, has been awarded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in a contest aimed at quickly devising new tools to combat the deadly disease. The prototype is designed to do a better job than current garments in keeping health care workers from coming in contact with Ebola patients' contagious body fluids, both during treatment and while removing a soiled suit. It is also expected to keep the wearer cooler - an important benefit in hot, humid regions such as West Africa. Some enhancements include a large, clear visor in the hood, which is integrated into the suit; air vents in the hood; a rear zipper to reduce infection risks while removing the garment; a cocoon-style doffing process that requires far fewer steps than existing garments; and a small battery-powered, dry air source to cool the user by blowing air into the hood. The team will fine-tune the prototype protective suit with a goal of getting some elements of the design ready for mass production perhaps as early as April, 2015.