Asia Research News 2021

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SPECIAL REPORT

COVID-19: OUR COMMUNITY ON THE FRONT LINES OF RESEARCH The global scientific community came together in an unprecedented way to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are selected research findings shared by our Asia Research News community.

3D PPE & DISINFECTING LIGHT At the outset of the pandemic, researchers immediately set to work developing innovative protective equipment and efficient disinfecting techniques to help keep medical workers and the general public safe. For example, City University of Hong Kong researchers produced low cost, anti-bacterial graphene face masks that are more environmentally friendly than conventional surgical ones. The team used a CO2 infrared laser to turn a raw material like paper into graphene. The resulting 3D graphene pores have an initial anti-bacterial efficiency of 80% that is enhanced to almost 100% with exposure to sunlight for about ten minutes. Early tests showed the masks deactivated two types of coronavirus. They are also reusable and biodegradable. In February 2020, Hong Kong Polytechnic University mobilised all its 3D printers to 24-hour-a-day operation to produce

eye and face shields for frontline medical personnel in the region. They then partnered with local industry to scale up manufacturing of the shields, which were specifically designed to provide a better fit for the local populace. Meanwhile, Hiroshima University researchers in Japan provided the first proof that ultraviolet-C light at a wavelength of 222nm effectively kills SARS-CoV-2. Far-UVC at this wavelength poses minimal health risks to human skin or eyes, making it a promising disinfectant for occupied public spaces, such as patient rooms in hospitals and clinics. Lingnan University researchers in Hong Kong are using a different ultraviolet-C wavelength to disinfect public spaces. The 253.7nm wavelength is harmful to human eyes and skin, so they have created a autonomous disinfecting robot that can get the job done without people being present.

ASIA RE SEA RC H N EWS

City University of Hong Kong researchers produced lowcost graphene face masks, which are made by turning a material like paper into graphene.

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Credit: City University of Hong Kong

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