The Oxford Road Corridor has provided early stage funding to support the development of a new innovative PPE respirator. Staff in the Intensive Care Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital (part of MFT), in collaboration with product designers and engineers at Designing Science and the University of Manchester have developed Bubble PAPR, a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR), to keep healthcare workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Bubble PAPR is both ergonomically and mechanically the right product to meet the need to protect NHS staff during the COVID crisis and beyond. The early stage funding received from the Oxford Road Corridor was critical in kickstarting the project”.Dr Glen Cooper, Program Director for Mechanical Engineering Design at UoM
The simple and low-cost device consists of a reusable collar that sits around the neck and a single-use plastic hood that can be easily recycled. The collar contains a fan to draw in air through a virus filter and deliver a cooling airflow around the face.
Bubble PAPR has been designed to be compatible with stringent infection control practices and be comfortable to wear for the duration of a shift in the ICU, or other high-risk areas. The wearer’s face is clearly visible, improving critical communication between staff and vastly improving the patient experience. The device can be easily and cheaply manufactured in large volumes so it can be made readily available across the healthcare system.
Dr Brendan McGrath, Intensive Care Consultant at Wythenshawe Hospital, has been the clinical lead through the development and testing process. He said: “We have tested Bubble PAPR and we know it performs its primary function which is to protect staff against inhalation of airborne viruses”.
Prof. Jackie Oldham, Oxford Road Corridor’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, was instrumental in assembling and coordinating the team that developed Bubble PAPR. This included Dr Glen Cooper, Program Director for Mechanical Engineering Design at The University of Manchester, who said: “The Bubble PAPR is both ergonomically and mechanically the right product to meet the need to protect NHS staff during the COVID crisis and beyond. The early stage funding received from the Oxford Road Corridor was critical in kickstarting the project”.
Steven Cochrane, Oxford Road Corridor Partnership Director, said: “The rapid development of this project is testament to the innovation and strong networks that exist within the Oxford Road Corridor partnership, and we are proud to be able to play a small part in helping to get this important project off the ground”.
A patent has been filed and the development team are now working with manufacturing partners to produce Bubble PAPR in large volumes and signing up distribution partners. The aim is to have Bubble PAPR widely available for front line staff, before the end of 2020.