Mid-South business headlines: Device makers innovate N95 masks to help Memphis face pandemic

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 4:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We are taking a look at innovative efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 coming right out of the Bluff City with Greg Akers, Editor-in-Chief of the Memphis Business Journal.

Members of a local startup from Memphis are working to prolong the lifespan of N95 masks, which are so critical for frontline workers.

“So, it started in March as soon as the pandemic hit and everyone realized that masks were going to be really vital to protecting ourselves against COVID-19,” said Akers. “So, N95 masks are the most effective healthcare masks.”

Akers said Regina Whitley, executive director of the Greater Memphis IT Council, called Ryan Ramkhelawan, an entrepreneur with a medical device startup, and they discussed how they could help with the mask shortage.

Ramkhelawan got to work, using an oil funnel, fiberglass and some sprinkler parts to create a new type of covering to go over an N95 mask.

“Something that could be sterilized and used over and over again, which is truly crucial when you need to have as many masks as possible on hand,” said Akers.

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