An advanced protective suit for health care workers who treat Ebola patients, devised by a Johns Hopkins team, is one of the first five awardees in a federal funding contest aimed at quickly devising new tools to combat the deadly disease.


The Johns Hopkins prototype is designed to do a better job than current garments in keeping health care workers from coming in contact with Ebola patients’ contagious body fluids, both during treatment and while removing a soiled suit. In addition, it is expected to keep the wearer cooler—an important benefit in hot, humid regions such as West Africa.

The first projects selected for the federal funding were announced Dec. 12, 2014, by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its new program, launched in October, called Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development.

The improved protective suit is being developed by a team of medical experts, engineers, students and other volunteers under the supervision of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) and Jhpiego, a nonprofit Johns Hopkins affiliate that focuses on international health programs. The precise amount of funding and other support that the USAID will award to this project is still under review.