Frontline health workers at UK hospital are first to trial new pioneering breathing device in fight against coronavirus

Staff at a hospital in Southampton have become the first frontline health workers in the UK to wear a pioneering respirator hood when treating coronavirus patients.

CONSISTING of a fabric hood with a plastic visor to protect the face, the PeRSo device delivers clean air through a High Efficiency Particulate Air (Hepa) filter using a fan mounted on the wearer’s belt.

The breathing device was developed from a prototype in just seven days, and staff at the University Hospital Southampton are the first to try it out.

Scientists from the University of Southampton and the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre worked with F1 team McLaren and industry experts including INDO and Kemp Sails to develop the design, which can now be manufactured around the world.

The device is undergoing evaluation at the moment, but has not yet received regulatory approval for use as an alternative to FFP3 masks with visors for staff in high-risk clinical areas, reports the Evening Standard.

Professor Paul Elkington, a consultant and professor in respiratory medicine in Southampton who initiated the project, said that “frontline medical staff are constantly at risk of being exposed to Covid-19 infection, and personal protective equipment (PPE) has been a recurrent subject of debate through the pandemic.”

He said the aim is to minimise the risk of infection for healthcare personnel, adding “the Hepa filtered air removes more than 99.95 per cent of particulate matter and the face mask protects from splashes and accidental touching, so we believe this will significantly reduce the risk of infection further”.

UHS has ordered 5,000 of the breathing units with chief officer, Dr Derek Sandeman, assuring “we have every confidence this will become a very important piece of healthcare equipment globally.”

He added that “any development which could improve that protection is very welcome.”

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Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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