IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

A High-sensitivity Testbench to Measure Virus Diffusion through the Materials Constituting Personal Protective Equipment (Gloves)


Polymer (nitrile, latex, vinyl) gloves are part of the arsenal of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect healthcare workers, care attendants and maintenance staff against the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Gloves worn in the presence of infected patients are put on before entering the hospital room and then immediately discarded when leaving it, following a specific protocol.

Preliminary findings about the adhesion of SARS-CoV-2 to various types of materials suggest that the virus adheres to and remains viable on different surfaces for at least 72 hours after contact.

The procedures involved in caring for patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, as well as the disinfection of rooms, involve manual contact with many contaminated objects and surfaces. Once on the gloves, the virus is able to pass through the protective barrier if the polymer was previously in contact with liquid disinfectants that could alter its structural integrity.

The objective of this research project is to measure the passage of viruses through the membranes that protective gloves are made of after they have been in contact with disinfecting agents.

This project aims to adapt a testbench to enable real time and high sensitivity measurement of the passage of viruses through polymer membranes (gloves). This hermetic testbench, which accommodates the insertion of a nebulizer, could be adapted to measure the passage of aerosolized virus through masks.

This research project was selected through the call for proposals for projects related to COVID-19.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2020-0069
Status: Ongoing
  • Marc-André Fortin (Université Laval)
  • Caroline Gilbert (Université Laval)