As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities around the world, Gore is working hard to identify ways in which we can apply our materials science expertise and production capabilities to help during this time of need. We are committed to doing what we can, where we can, in a manner that has the greatest value for those on the front lines of addressing this crisis and in our communities.
Several initiatives are underway that bring together the knowledge, skills and capabilities from across our Enterprise. Many of these efforts arose from either the needs of healthcare providers, our customers, communities, the personal initiative of our Associates, or as innovative ideas put forward through a crowdsourcing effort among our more than 10,500 Associates from around the world.
Through our innovation
For example, as an immediate and initial response to the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage, Gore rapidly engineered prototype reusable mask covers to supplement clinicians’ primary face masks. These covers, developed by a cross-divisional team, are made from a material that:
- is a proprietary Gore high-flow filtration laminate
- provides greater than 99% aerosolized virus particle protection
- is water repellent yet air permeable, and
- can be reused after autoclave or EtO sterilization
This effort went from a product concept to prototypes in less than one week. We currently have prototypes being evaluated at a limited number of U.S. facilities in COVID-19 outbreak hot spots. Based on feedback from those piloting the prototype, we intend to optimize the PPE Protector design and then scale up production for broader distribution. We hear the pleas for help and will continue to do everything we can to protect those on the front-line of this global health crisis.
Working with others
While there is much we can do as an Enterprise, we can achieve more, on a larger scale, through collaboration with others. Gore is a materials science company, and, for the most part, the creation of finished PPE products is not our core competency. By providing our customers and other manufacturing companies with our highly specialized component materials they can use to produce a variety of finished items, together we can provide even more health care providers with sorely needed items. Examples of other initiatives underway include:
- Protective medical gowns, using fabrics laminates from our current inventory
- Universal filter cartridge prototypes for use in respirators, hoods and ventilators that incorporate our filtration materials intended to provide N95 particulate protection
- Disposable N95 respirators, using our filtration laminates
It is through these collaborations with those who have the technical capabilities and production capacity needed to produce the finished goods in volume that together, we truly are improving life.
In our communities
We continue to engage in our local communities to support our fellow Associates, friends and neighbors. In places like Flagstaff, Arizona, and Newark, Delaware, where we have significant U.S. operations, we are in direct dialogue with local health care providers to determine how we can help. In locations where we had inventory of medical supplies and protective gear typically used for manufacturing, R&D and technical case support purposes available, we donated those items locally to healthcare workers serving the communities in which we operate. In addition we have provided engineering and prototyping support to address other urgent equipment needs at local hospitals serving our communities.
Some of our buildings that house Associates who are not essential to current operations or are otherwise unoccupied during our operational shut-down have been offered to local health departments and government crisis response teams as additional space to conduct their work. The availability of such space varies by region, but we are making our facilities accessible where we can with the hope it provides needed support.
As global citizens, we feel a responsibility to contribute our time, tools and talent to the fight against COVID-19. As members of the communities in which we operate, we share a deep commitment to protect those who are working hard to protect us. It is in this spirit that we pursue these opportunities to help, even as we continue to search for new and innovative ways to address further critical needs.
For additional information, please see the message from our CEO, Jason Field.