We need new innovation and inventions for fighting the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) epidemic. Industries from all different segments can contribute to mitigating the effects and simultaneously add value to their organization. Here are some inventions we could use now.

Aesthetic Designs for Respiratory Protection

Aesthetically, the generic face masks worn against inhalation of viruses are non-inspiring. We need some style and creativity to coordinate colors, patterns and shape features into the masks if wearing them is going to be the new normal. There are some colorful disposable face masks available on Amazon. However, there is a need to create color schemes that match professional business attire. Well-known apparel companies should immediately jump into this and align their branding with the market segment they reach.

Wearing respiratory face masks becoming the new normal in high-population areas.
London, January 26, 2020. People wearing a face masks to protecting themselves because of epidemic in China of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

Professional and College Sports

Hockey games draw large gatherings of people. This is a dangerous situation during a pandemic. The Tampa Bay Lightning could brand disposable respiratory masks with the Lightning colors and logo. Consequently, people would feel less awkward wearing something that shows team spirit and using those masks at heavily attended games would dramatically cut viral transmissions.

Vaping for a Good Cause

It is reported that China sends trucks to spray disinfectant throughout large areas including low-concentration bleach.

There is already a well-established industry for battery-powered vaporizers. Configure these devices to emit vaporized hydrogen peroxide (HPV). HPV is a low-temperature antimicrobial vapor to decontaminate enclosed and sealed areas such as labs, isolation and pass-through rooms, bathrooms and rental cars. These units are placed into an enclosed space with a timer to disinfect the area prior to occupancy.

Electronic cigarette vaporizers could be reconfigured as anti-viral disinfection units for personal use.
Electronic cigarette vaporizers could be reconfigured as anti-viral disinfection units for personal use.

Social Media and Office Applications

New day on LinkedIn or FaceBook? How about an optional click-through dialog asking users:

  • How do you feel?
  • Have you been in contact with anyone sick?
  • Have you traveled by air in the last two weeks?

A statistically meaningful population of answers to these three questions would give public health officials an amazing amount of useful data. The answers could be anonymized and only record a geolocation estimate from the IP address of the user. It would be an easy modal Javascript dialog (see Bootstrap 4 for an example).

The CDC should create an open API with a schema for accepting data through representational state transfer (REST). They can generate authentication tokens for trusted entities like Facebook, Google and Microsoft and then let those organizations create downstream verification systems so they know the data is reasonably accurate.

Certifications Marks for Standards

Develop anti-viral protocols for various industries (e.g., banks, movie theaters, restaurants) by virologists and then grant a certification trademark for use by businesses entities that proves they meet these standards. Accordingly, just like attorneys may be “AV” rated or food labeled “organic” or “kosher,” businesses earning the right use an coined trademark such a XYZ VIRUS CERTIFIED wherein consumers have some assurance the all reasonable measures have been taken to mitigate the risks of viral transmissions.

In conclusion, virtually every organization can innovate means to address this problem. The greatest danger is despair and inaction. The human species is arguably the most successful and adaptable animal to exist. This will not be the last viral epidemic (or likely pandemic). We take all use both our efforts and intellect to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.