Swansea research during the Covid19 crisis
We’re doing all we can to apply our expertise and help provide solutions in the midst of the Covid19 crisis. Staff across the University are finding innovative ways to put to best use our facilities, exploring how to minimise the physical effects of the virus, working, for example, with colleagues across Wales and the newly-established consortium: SWARM (the South Wales Additive and Rapid Manufacturing Consortium) which is co-ordinating available industry, manufacturing and design capacity to get vital PPE to frontline services.
We’ve also used our state-of-the-art 3D printers to produce visors and face shields, and we’ve repurposed one of our solar laboratories, switching temporarily to producing 5000 litres of hand sanitiser a week which is being used by the local NHS and is now also being utilised by frontline housing workers, homelessness support services and the people they look after, many of whom are vulnerable.
We’ve been quick to react to the urgent needs of our emergency services. Through the ingenuity of a group of our students for example, a new rapid-release gas treatment for ambulances has been developed which could remove Covid-19 contamination from surfaces and the air, in under twenty minutes, half the time it usually takes, removing human cleaning intervention. If trials are successful, it could also be rolled out for other blue light services, public transport and hospital wards.
Ours is a multidisciplinary approach and we’re also exploring the psychological and social impact of the pandemic, focusing on the needs of those affected and putting in place support structures, and looking at the long term effects of social distancing on mental health.