Four Projects Aimed at Fighting COVID-19 Supported by TA CR

In March 2020, TTO launched a special call to support Proof of concept projects the results of which will be products or services aimed at eliminating the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and prevent the COVID-19 disease. In May, the implementation began of 4 approved projects that were granted financial support of 4.1 million CZK from the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. This funding will be used to verify the practical applicability of these scientific projects.

30 Jun 2020

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A Tool for Monitoring Epidemics
The aim of the scientists from the Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the Faculty of Science led by Ladislav Dušek is to design and implement an on-line analytical tool for the management and monitoring of epidemics in real time. This tool should provide an analysis of the overall situation in the Czech Republic; it will also include analytical tools based on innovative mathematical modelling surpassing the current standards of infectious diseases modelling. These models will allow mapping the overall epidemiological situation in the individual counties with regard to various stages of the given disease.

Plasma-assisted Modification of Nanofibers for Filtration Purposes
Thanks to the funding, the scientists from the Department of Physical Electronics at CEPLANT led by David Paliňák will be able to verify the technology of modifying nanofibers by atmospheric pressure plasma. The scientists hope that this new technology will replace the current technological process during which the nanofibers deposited on the base fabric have to be laminated to improve their mechanical properties. The lamination lowers the material’s filtration efficiency and adds an extra step to the process. This project should result in verifying this technology, which should help to implement it in nanofiber production lines.

Optimization of the Size and Shape of the CIIRC RP95-3D Respirator for Children
The team of Petra Urbanová, the director of the Department of Anthropology of the Faculty of Science, is testing the new CIIRC RP95-3D protective half mask. It was developed in March 2020 by experts from CTU, Prague who provided its prototype to the anthropologists from Masaryk University to modify its dimensions for ages 4 to 18. Respirators often do not fit children properly which prevents them from functioning properly. The scientists will use their extensive database of 3D facial scans to test the mask. They also aim to come up with a new method that will help people to choose the right size of the mask in case the production of different sizes of face masks will become more widespread. The method chooses the right size and shape of the mask on the basis of automatic evaluation of the subject’s facial photograph.

Method of Detecting the SARS-CoV-2 Viral Genome
Boris Tichý and Filip Pardy from the Genomics Core Facility at CEITEC MU have started developing a new method thanks to which the collection of samples from potential COVID-19 patients could be much faster and simpler to carry out. They want to employ the so-called RT-LAMP method that is capable of detecting the presence of genetic information of a specific virus or microbe. The scientists aim to develop a diagnostic kit capable of reliably detecting virus particles with high sensitivity and specificity. The development of the kit could then be taken over and finished by a private company.

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