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DuPont Tychem suit protects against Ebola

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Ebola Suit

Matt Petney, who served as a project manager at Johns Hopkins during development of the Ebola protection suit, helps recent graduate Allie Sibole don the prototype suit//Photo by Will Kirk/Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins University and DuPont have signed license and collaboration agreements allowing DuPont to commercialize a garment to protect people from the Ebola virus that has resulted in 11,000 deaths.

DuPont intends to have the first of these garments available in the marketplace during the first half of 2016 to help with the treatment of Ebola and other future deadly infectious disease outbreaks.  Johns Hopkins developed innovative features to make the suit safe but the suit is fashioned from Dupont Tychem. Tychem combines the strength of Tyvek with a light chemical barrier that works in wet or dry environments.

The collaboration between DuPont and Johns Hopkins began in response to a need identified by the U.S. Agency for International Development workers in West Africa, where harsh climates and ill-equipped health systems made it particularly difficult to keep Ebola at bay. More than 800 health workers were infected.

In December, the USAID selected the new Johns Hopkins prototype protective garment, developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design and made of a DuPont material, as one of the first five projects to receive funding to address the healthcare challenge posed by Ebola.

The garment, made with input from Hopkins’ global health partner Jhpiego, will feature a rear zipper and cocoon-style removal to make it possible to doff the garment quickly.

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