CERN, the world leading laboratory in particle physics, has established a task force to identify and support contributions from its community to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Set up at the end of March, the “CERN against Covid-19” task force has already received hundreds of messages suggesting ideas ranging from producing sanitizer gel to designing and building sophisticated medical equipment. The design of a novel ventilator is an example of deployment of CERN’s technology to advance the global fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“CERN is a world leading laboratory in particle physics. As such, it’s a hub of resources, including the worldwide LHC Computing Grid, or WLCG, mechanical workshops, sophisticated design and prototyping facilities, advanced technologies and expertise ranging from science and engineering to industrialization,” said Director-General Fabiola Gianotti. “We want to deploy our resources and competences to contribute to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”

CERN’s overall approach is to ensure effective and well-coordinated action, drawing on CERN’s many competencies and advanced technologies, and working closely with experts in the fields of healthcare, drug development, epidemiology and emergency response. Being located in Meyrin in the canton of Geneva, the organization has established links with local hospitals and emergency services, as well as exchanging with experts at the World Health Organization.

Initiatives already underway include the production of one ton of sanitizer gel to distribute to local emergency response teams. CERN’s 3D printing and workshop capability is now focused on complementing the production of protective equipment such as masks and Perspex barriers for law enforcement in the region. Studies are underway to deploy the particle physics community’s considerable computing capacity to assist in the search for a vaccine.