Covid-19: the inventor hoping to bring air hoods to frontline medics | FT

Lockdown has forced professor Mike Bradley to work out of his back garden shed. But he’s determined to bring his air-fed hood into production. And he says it could help a range of people to work more safely – from doctors and nurses to bus drivers. See if you get the FT for free as a student ( or start a £1 trial:

Cheaply this is professor mike bradley with his latest invention a pump feat filtered air into a hood protecting the wearer from covet 19 mike thinks it could be a lifesaver for doctors on the front line and help workers at risk like carers and bus drivers but how does a man with an idea make that idea a reality it starts in his back garden workshop so i’m

Professor mike bradley from the university of greenwich but you can probably tell it i’m in my home workshop at the moment because of course all our university labs are locked up during the lockdown so we’ve had to resort to using some somewhat hand-to-mouth facilities let me introduce you to my assistant i call him pepe because he’s testing ppe for us he’s very

Patient but not very good company on a night in so you can see we’ve got the the clear plastic bubble we’ve got the seal that goes around the neck underneath which is tied in tight in here because this has inside it what we call positive pressure that is to say we push air into here and the air permeates out through the fabric at the bottom that means that anywhere

Where there is leakage it’s of clean air outwards so it’s impossible for contamination to get in so the positive pressure gives us the positive protection that enables us to work with highly dangerous materials and also will give that level of protection for healthcare workers against viruses in the air and suchlike what i’ll do i’ll start the start the air pump

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So requestor there the fan starts to run and that is pumping air through the chair you can see yeah this is what we call an inclined manometer and this gives us a measurement of the air flow rate so where the water moves up the sloped pipe the relative movement of the water is a measurement of the air flow as indicated through the venturi meter here sugar is a

Particulate material mike is a professor with particle technology that might mean working out how flavored powder can adhere evenly to crisps flavor burst or it might mean working with nuclear dust asbestos or lead and that’s where his expertise in ppe personal protective equipment comes in some of these materials you only need one particle and it can seriously

Spoil your life much much more dangerous than corona so of course we’re used to wearing ppe that has a very high level of integrity and it’s that high level of integrity in ppe which of course our current healthcare system is not providing our doctors and nurses mike has assembled a team that includes a viral epidemiologist anesthetist engineers and a retired

Merchant banker and toyota have designed an assembly line to produce the pumps at volume if there is demand the aim is to get the hoods into hospitals like this one doctors in critical care staff here at louis sherman greenwich nhs trust in south london have been evaluating mike’s prototype alongside two other designs so there’s a minimum of noise inside because

The fan obviously generates a certain amount always and without a silencer that this to the perhaps are speaking to you how easy is it to have verbal communication because that’s something that we thank that a particular challenge at working with particularly being this wrong not only when you’ve got a team working together in a busy communication so if you

Like to try it on dozens of doctors nurses and healthcare workers have died in the uk during the pandemic and some victims families have blamed the lack of adequate ppe when i first tried it i was a bit concerned about was that the optics through the plastic wouldn’t be good enough or like intubation or something like that each of mike’s pleasure hoods will cost


Around three to five hundred pounds depending on the number produced but he believes the safety benefits will pay off no gaps for contaminated air to get through no pressure sores improved comfort and communication for these tests and ent surgeons who are looking down people’s throats all day you will very much exposed to whatever is in the patient’s airway and at

The moment that’s coded montine there could be any infective agent tv so we’re just going to simulate an intubation here just to give us an idea but it looks like and went on to the windpipe to blow the cuff up on the tube and take the stoke out and and then we will be able to stop sent over unobstructed view very easy read you need something that’s going to keep

You safe that whole tiny with the patient the trust is now pretty much hood forward for clinical trials starting in operating theaters what we’re trying to do at the moment and people like mike helping is to get rapid solutions to problems that haven’t really been properly thought through by the hospitals but my government by you know policy makers as well because

We’ve just not really experienced anything like this before in the modern time so we need rapid solutions to very very serious problems and if manufacturers and inventors can be mobilized more quickly and flexibly with this approach than a traditional approach then i’m all for that the outbreak has mobilized a new army of manufacturers to fill the shortfall in

Ppe schools charities and hobbyists have put their 3d printers to use making visors factories have switched from shirts dresses and jeans to medical gowns and masks mike also look to an unlikely source to help with his prototypes he’s a keen dancer and he enlisted a local dressmaker to so hoods collars and belts one is on these types they’re a bit too slippery and

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So of course mobilizing all sorts of resources that otherwise would not be would not be used for this kind of thing is advantageous because it enables us to make use of parts of the economy that are underemployed at the moment and at the same time gives us the capacity that we need to produce what we know the wedding and i don’t know how many weeks mike isn’t the

Only one to have come up with something like this they’re a us and chinese designs and a team in south hampton has developed their own respirator hood after testing in the wards the university hospital they’re placed an order for five thousand units with the local manufacturer mike needs to finalize the prototype before he applies for regulatory approval under the

Fast-track scheme that should take around three weeks but it costs thousands of pounds and once the application is accepted he can’t change the design approval for use outside healthcare could take several months he says it’s a frustrating procedure at the moment the situation is to me seems terribly risk-averse in as much as that anything new is not allowed to be

You because there may be a risk it may not perform but how does that stack up against the well-known risk that we have of so many people dying because they’re getting sick with no vaccine guaranteed and governments around the world keen to get their economies back to work masks have already become the norm hoods like this could be next

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Covid-19: the inventor hoping to bring air hoods to frontline medics | FT By Financial Times

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