By Sabrina Edwards
Grand Rapids Community College is hosting a study for an item made by Sensory Cloud that could potentially aid in COVID-19 prevention. The study is taking place at schools on the East Coast and in the Midwest, with GRCC hosting the largest study.
During the study Sensory Cloud will be comparing the number of respiratory droplets emitted after using FEND in comparison to a control group. Those who participate will have administered a nasal saline, either FEND or a nasal saline that’s on the market, Simply Saline. The device is meant to be used in conjunction with masks and other social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
More than one person can use one device, due to the person receiving FEND touching nothing. A single bottle of solution has 125 administrations.
The product was created by GRCC alumni David Edwards, who later went on to be a professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard. FEND is a handheld device that releases a mist of saline solution to be inhaled through the nose.
“It came from my observations around the time of the anthrax attack,” said Edwards. “When mucus is not working perfectly it breaks up when we’re breathing and it makes these little droplets that we talk a lot about right now that can carry pathogens deep into your lungs or into the outside environment that can affect other people.”
FEND coats the nasal passage so that harmful particles can’t affect the person breathing. By thickening the mucosal lining it also lowers the amount of droplets let out via exhaling.
The study will take place on Nov. 16 through 19 at Sneden Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone can register, it is not exclusive to GRCC students and staff. The study will take approximately 30 minutes and those who participate will receive $15 as well as a parking voucher. Those who are interested should select the Grand Rapids study and there will be options for times and days as well as a consent forms. Registration is available online.
“We measure the exhaled aerosoles, the particles that are coming out of your airway when you breathe, everybody has a different number of particles so we first want to see that,” Edwards said. “We measure again your exhaled aerosoles and we want to see whether the administration of the salt has lowered the amount of particles you’re exhaling.”
Edwards has a strong connection to GRCC. He attended the school in 1980-81 and his father was a professor at the college before that. He had some advice to share with GRCC students.
“Believe, whoever you are, that you can make a difference,” said Edwards. “Find what you enjoy and then work hard at it.”