Magna has a consumer device that could help fight coronavirus

It's seeking a lab able to test the device, which it says proved effective at killing the MRSA bacteria

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Magna International, the diversified auto supplier, is joining the ranks of automotive manufacturers looking to lend a hand in the battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic. In this case, Magna has dusted off an existing device called the Puro from its consumer division that it thinks could be helpful to health care and other workers plagued by shortages of personal protective equipment.

It’s essentially a lightweight, portable container, the size of an extra-large Yeti cooler, with a transparent lid that uses ozone to break down bacteria and remove odors from everything from children’s toys and stuffed animals to hockey helmets and construction boots. Magna engineers say it proved effective against killing the antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria in 2012, and they think it holds similar promise to kill the COVID-19 coronavirus, potentially helping health care providers by disinfecting masks and other protective equipment that’s in critically short supply.

Key to this, Magna says, is finding a specialized Level 3 lab that’s willing and able to test its performance against the coronavirus.

“We think we can really save lives. We’ve just got to get this testing done,” Scott Mitchell, Magna’s global director of new technology and innovation, told Automotive News. He said most labs are “swamped” with other tests related to the pandemic.

The company says a single Puro could disinfect as many as 50 face masks every 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Magna’s seating team is enlisting help from the public by developing instructional guides for reusable, breathable cotton masks, including versions with a pocket to fit a filter or as a cover for an N95 mask, which health care providers across the country say are in critically short supply. If you have a sewing machine and some fabric and want to help, more information is here.

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