University of Derby engineers producing visors to protect hundreds of hospital staff

15 April 2020

Researchers at the University of Derby are supporting the national effort to combat COVID-19 by producing visors for healthcare staff at local hospitals.

Visors are essential elements of personal protective equipment (PPE) for nurses and other staff working on the frontline, helping to reduce their risk of infection while treating patients suffering from the virus.

The researchers, based at the University’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering research centre (IISE), have produced single-use and reusable visors which are compliant with the Grade 1 Medical Device standard (EN ISO 166/168) and can be mass manufactured for use in the short-term.

Both visor types are currently being tested at local GP surgeries in Derby, although the primary focus is on creating the single use version. This is an existing lightweight ‘one-size-fits-all’ full-screen design, specially adapted for staff treating and caring for coronavirus patients. It will be flexible enough to be easily attached in a number of ways and can be produced in high volumes very quickly.

Professor Paul Wood, Director of the Institute, said: “Colleagues were keen to contribute to the challenge of supplying PPE and support the effort to protect NHS staff and carers. The wide range of skills and expertise within the team, combined with the range of facilities we have, has enabled a robust design to be quickly optimised, and assessed before evaluation by users.”

The University will work with Derby-based Riverside Medical Packaging Ltd to assemble and supply the visors.

Once evaluated and manufactured, the visors will be distributed to staff at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “The University has already made significant contributions within Derby and Derbyshire to the work being done to treat people who have fallen seriously ill after contracting coronavirus. This includes the supply of thousands of items of PPE kit, not to mention the hundreds of students who are supporting nursing staff on the frontline in our hospitals.

“The fact that we can also bolster the supply of essential equipment which helps to protect hospital staff from infection is yet another example of the University’s prompt and purposeful civic engagement with our community, businesses and essential services at a time when it is so vital to work together to confront this crisis.”

For more information about what the University of Derby is doing to help the fight against coronavirus, please visit our Community Information page.

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