True Health has made strides in redesigning respirators for Covid and beyond
Aug 11, 2020 12:00 PM
As COVID-19 was spreading throughout the world in March, Dr. John Pearson realized there would be a dramatic PPE shortage for providers on the front lines of the pandemic. With UofU Biomedical Engineering PhD candidate Patrick Kolbay and the blessing of Dr. Egan, John and Patrick began investigating ad-hoc emergency PPE that could be made from readily available supplies. After rapidly iterating testing various ideas, including an OR supplied air concept featured in Becker's Hospital Review (link below), John joined an international collaboration with Dr. Manu Prakash at Stanford to test and implement reusable full-face snorkel masks as a modified respirator. John and Patrick suggested using anesthesia circuit filters and to their surprise the solution appeared to provide as much protection as N95 masks. The team was then joined by Boston Scientific and Medtronic to complete testing and validation as well as adapter manufacturing. This effort resulted in a paper posted to MedRxiv (see below), a youtube video viewed over 80,000 times and the formation of a coalition to distribute masks worldwide, called Pneumask (pneumask.org). This effort was detailed in an article on STAT News as well as the Washington Post.
John was then co-submitting author on an FDA Emergency Use Authorization with Dr. Prakash and Boston Scientific to use the masks as respirators. On April 3, the FDA authorized their use as a face mask/face shield with off-label use as a respirator. At this point, John joined forces with coalition partner Alex Spencer, then completing his MBA at Harvard Business School, to form True Health Technologies. True Health is a social venture dedicated to commercializing modified PPE and also to creating the next generation of reusable masks specifically designed for healthcare. John and Alex also formed the True Health Foundation to donate 1 mask for every 1 mask sold. Their work was later featured in an interview with KSL TV as well coverage by the Salt Lake Tribune. True Health has made strides in redesigning respirators for Covid and beyond, and now has a team of respiratory protection experts from Harvard, Emory University and the University of Maryland working together on comprehensive respiratory PPE solutions.