IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho National Laboratory researchers are joining efforts with other top scientists around the nation to help combat COVID-19 and prepare against future pandemics.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has organized a massive collaborative project called the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL). The NVBL combines the efforts of researchers from 17 national laboratories, and harnesses the worlds leading technology in fighting the virus.
Rob O’Brien is the Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the INL. He says two areas of focus include improving ventilator and face-mask technology.
"I think where we're excited, is in looking at new materials that can self sanitize after use," O-Brien said.
He also notes scientists are collaborating with private sector businesses in producing new materials.
"We're working with regional partners, and local businesses like Klim of Rigby. We're really excited to explore new technologies on that front with respect to masks," he said.
NVBL is also working with leading edge technology, like high performance computer modeling, to identify and create medications that will aid in treating the COVID-19.