The company Hengst SE in Münster produced numerous breathing masks during the Corona pandemic.
© Hengst SE
In action against Corona

Münsterland company in action against Corona

Air filters in the fight against the viruses, respiratory masks for better protection in everyday life, important research on the use of medicines: many Münsterland companies demonstrated drive and innovative spirit during the Corona pandemic and thus supported the region in various ways in coping with the crisis.

Find out more about innovations from Münsterland on this page.

Challenge: Corona pandemic outbreak 2020

Since the outbreak at the beginning of 2020, the Corona pandemic has presented societies and health systems with massive new challenges. Companies, scientists and researchers from the Münsterland region are also making their contribution in the fight against the global pandemic. Thanks to new products, innovative services or remarkable research. A selection.

Air purifiers in the fight against viruses

  • Stallion SE from Münster developed the mobile Air Purifier against Corona. After just ten minutes, the air purifier succeeds in reducing the virus load in the room air, and after just 30 minutes it even reduces it by 90 percent for a room size of 80 square metres. The air purifier is already in use in hundreds of schools, day-care centres, surgeries, offices and restaurants in Münsterland and beyond.
  • The Franz Ziel GmbH from Billerbeck has around 40 years of experience as a leading global supplier of pharmaceutical equipment and process solutions. The company has developed the flexible and mobile Air Infect Protect air purifier air purifier that effectively reduces Covid-19 and other viruses to a minimum.
  • The Airbion GmbH produces its air purifier in Gronau. The Airbion air purifier is based on the technology developed by Prof. Dr. Gregor Luthe developed and patented VAPUR technology: it does not filter out viruses, ultra-fine particles, pollutants and bacteria, but eliminates them completely. The Airbion One thus manages without filters and is therefore suitable for use at home.
  • The Kemper GmbH from Vreden has developed the AirCO2NTROL air purifier has developed a HEPA filter that separates aerosols, particles, viruses and bacteria from the air. The devices clean the air in all classrooms in Stadtlohn, for example.
  • The new VIROLINE Series of the TEKA Extraction and Disposal Technology GmbH in Coesfeld purifies the air with the help of UV-C light and filters - so it disinfects and filters at the same time.
  • Also the two companies based in Isselburg VKF Renzel GmbH and deconta GmbH produce air purifiers for a safe indoor climate.
  • The INOTEC Ventilation and System Technology GmbH in Heek offers a Ventilation concept air purifier for schools that enables effective air exchange.
  • The technotrans SE from Sassenberg offers with its Room ventilator tt.air energy-efficient unit with HEPA filter that effectively separates viruses, bacteria, pollen and mould.

Medical masks

  • The family-owned company Hengst SE from Münster is a specialist for technologically leading filtration solutions. In April 2020, Hengst converted its production and has since produced a large number of respiratory masks worldwide.
  • The automotive supplier OKE Group GmbH from Hörstel also converted its production in April 2020 and produced one million mouth-nose masks per day.
  • Mondi Gronau GmbH from Gronau has been producing surgical masks since mid-2020. The company produced up to one million masks per day in the meantime.
  • Medical Shield GmbH & Co KG in Ahaus, which belongs to the Shield Group, was founded in April 2020. The company offers high-quality FFP2 masks and protective equipment.
  • When there was a shortage of FFP2 and FFP3 masks in spring 2020, Franz Ziel GmbH from Billerbeck developed a process to re-sterilise used masks. This enabled doctors, nurses and rescue workers to reuse their masks germ-free.
  • At Münster University of Applied Sciences, an interdisciplinary group of scientists was commissioned by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices to research how FFP2 masks can be safely reused in private use. The result is a brochure that shows consumers how and with which methods they can disinfect their FFP2 masks.

Corona tests for more safety

  • Carpegen is a life science company from Münster and specialises in the development of molecular biological test systems, among others for infection and dental diagnostics. Shortly after the start of the Corona crisis, the company established coronavirus PCR diagnostics in its own laboratory and offers the PCR tests in cooperation with laboratory doctors' practices and hospital laboratories.
  • Biocheck GmbH from Münster offers a Covid-19 antibody test under its Polycheck brand, which the company developed in the summer of 2020. Until now, the company had specialised in the production of test kits for autoimmune diseases and allergies for human medical diagnostics and in the veterinary field.

Better hygiene

  • To ensure the safety of all guests at events or in office buildings, Elanko Medien- und Sicherheitstechnik GmbH from Heek has developed a contactless fever display that enables access control with a temperature monitoring terminal. Thanks to a memory for facial images and temperature information, the data can also be traced more easily.
  • The SafetyGate from the company Taalex Systemtechnik GmbH in Stadtlohn combines the functions of hand disinfection and contactless fever measurement. The electronics are IoT-capable and can be flexibly adapted to customer requirements.
  • With the help of the GoVivet customer traffic light from PAN direct GmbH & Co KG from Warendorf, organisers can carry out effective access controls.

Support for vaccine production

For the global vaccination campaign, it is essential to build up new production capacities for vaccine manufacturing. Franz Ziel GmbH from Billerbeck has made an important contribution here: It has supplied isolator lines for filling vaccines to renowned pharmaceutical companies in Europe and worldwide. The filling machine and the associated isolator for the sterile filling environment are always customised special systems and were developed and delivered by Franz Ziel GmbH in record time.

Research on drugs against corona

At WWU Münster, Prof. Dr Stephan Ludwig is researching a drug against the coronavirus at the Institute of Virology Münster (IVM). Stephan Ludwig originally developed the drug against influenza. Clinical tests are currently being conducted to determine how effective it is against the coronavirus. Recently, the drug has been administered to a larger group of patients with severe corona infections in various clinics in Germany, but also in South Africa and India. The drug inhibits the multiplication of the viruses and should prevent patients in intensive care units from slipping into very severe courses.

The research group of Prof. Dr. Ursula Rescher from the Centre for Molecular Biology of Inflammation (ZMBE) at the Medical Faculty of the WWU Münster is also researching an antidote for COVID-19. Ursula Rescher is investigating whether the already approved active substance fluoxetine can be used as a drug against COVID-19. The drug fluoxetine, better known under the product name "Prozac", has been available as an antidepressant since 1988. In cooperation with the Institute of Virology headed by Prof. Stephan Ludwig at the ZMBE, the team found out that fluoxetine inhibits both the uptake of SARS-CoV-2 viruses and their further spread in the cell culture model without damaging cells. The active substance could thus potentially be used for antiviral therapy.

Creating more together: Networking in the Corona Crisis

The importance of cooperation in networks became clear during the Corona pandemic.
© Pixabay

The cooperation of companies with regional networks such as Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik Münster e.V., Netzwerk Gesundheitswirtschaft Münsterland e.V., Netzwerk Oberfläche NRW, CenTech GmbH and other partners such as Technologieförderung Münster helped to clear hurdles and challenges during the Corona pandemic - for example in the area of approval, payment and promotion of development activities for antigen, PCR and antibody tests or in arranging contacts with the ministries concerned. This made it possible to make new tests available to the market more quickly and to identify people infected with Corona at an earlier stage.

In addition, the networks formed a "Corona Task Force" right at the beginning of the pandemic and brought together companies from the healthcare industry seeking and offering help via the online platform "GeWi vs. Corona" from the Münsterland Healthcare Industry Network. Just a few weeks after going live in April 2020, the platform included more than 35 solutions to combat the pandemic from companies in the healthcare industry in Münsterland.

On offer, for example, were room solutions that could be set up quickly, protective equipment in the form of masks, special clothing and disinfectants, or technical and digital solutions such as high-performance production machines for respirators or location and visualisation solutions for setting up quarantine stations. Searching companies from the region have also used the platform to acquire medical staff or volunteers for the vaccination centres at short notice, for example.

Enabling Networks Innovation Stories

As a regional joint initiative, Enabling Networks Münsterland supports companies and universities in the Münsterland region in developing innovations, implementing them and finding the right partners for the project. In order to show how innovative and at the same time cooperative Münsterland already is, the project also went in search of innovative cooperation projects from the region. The results are presented on this page. The Enabling Networks Münsterland project is funded by the European Union and the NRW Ministry of Economics as part of the ERDF call "Regio.NRW".

More innovation stories from the region