Christian Viviers was incredulous when he heard that doctors and nurses around the world were resorting to using scarves and bandanas for protection amid the mask shortage brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.
He said he drove straight to his Alpharetta, Georgia office to modify his company’s product, called GantGuard, in hopes that it would extend the life of masks so health care professionals could use them for longer.
“If we don’t have doctors and nurses, who’s going to take care of us when we’re sick?” he said. “It’s tragic when we get to that point and you see how it’s going everywhere, all over the world, and especially Italy, you see hospitals where they’re half uncovered and it’s pretty drastic. And doctors are dying and nurses are dying.”
Gant Medical has produced single-use surgical and dental bibs for about a year. Viviers said the product cuts down on cross-contamination between patients.
The company has recently modified the adhesive bibs to be able to wrap around the user’s head, protecting the mask underneath, as well as the entire face and neck area.
That way, doctors can discard the GantGuards as needed and use their masks for longer.
Viviers is first to clarify that this is not intended to replace masks or other personal protective equipment, but to supplement it.
Local hospitals and mobile sites testing patients for the virus, as well as hospitals in California and New York, have received the product to try it out.
Viviers said he’s also in touch with members from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 panel and the Federal Emergency Management Agency about distribution.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.