After a surge of requests for frontline medical staff to receive respiratory PPE, a team of engineers and medical colleagues from Southampton have begun to develop their own.
The team are working in partnership with a number of industry professionals, such as McLaren and Kemp Sails, as well as Southampton-based manufacturer INDO on behalf of Baynhams. Only a few days after the crisis emerged, the team had a prototype of their PPE ready for testing. If the product passes the tests, its construction will be shared with other teams around the globe in order to work together to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
The PPE is worn on the head, with a hood made of fabric as well as a plastic visor to see through. There is a mechanised, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter attached to the hood, which is powered by a fan that is attached to the wearer’s belt.
Following from an initial demonstration, the PPE has received positive feedback, and is still being tested amongst the hospital wards in Southampton.
UoS Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Paul Elkington, has said:
We must minimise the risk of infection for medical staff and stop them getting sick at the peak of the pandemic, so that they can care for others. The engineering team has rapidly developed something simple yet effective. The HEPA filtered air removes 99.95% of particulate matter and the face mask protects from splashes, and so we think this will reduce the risk of infection.
To read a more in depth description of the device, and to see pictures of it in action, you can follow the story here.