Two local technology startups in Baton Rouge are collaborating to manufacture reusable N95 masks for health care workers.
Inventherm, a research and development startup, and sports drink business Hydra-Guard jointly developed a prototype mask for use during the coronavirus pandemic. The startups both operate inside the LSU Innovation Park, a research park that sells office space to emerging companies.
The mask is lightweight and made of plastic, which can be disinfected after use. It includes a replaceable filter to prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria, the companies said.
The companies expect to produce 300 masks during an 8-hour shift. Inventherm is applying for a Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop more products such as room sanitizers and non-toxic equipment.
Many hospitals have experienced shortages of personal protection equipment for health care workers who are caring for patients who may test positive for COVID-19.
Some hospitals across Louisiana have been accepting homemade masks, often used for visitors. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals begin wearing masks in public, whether they are a health care worker or not.
"Unlike many DIY masks, we wanted a relative high degree of certainty that N95 specifications would be met or exceeded," the companies said in a statement.