A Birmingham medtech firm has secured £250,000 in new funding from the Welsh Government to manufacture a device which can shield NHS staff and carers from covid-19 and other infections.
AerosolShield, which is based on the University of Birmingham’s research park, will use the capital to help it develop and scale production of its pop-up isolation tent.
The tent can be deployed in seconds to cover the head and shoulders of a patient, forming a physical barrier between them and a carer during aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation, nebulisation or CPR.
Its makers claim it blocks infected droplets from a patient’s lungs before they can come into contact with PPE and enables healthcare staff to perform life-saving procedures without being contaminated.
The product was conceived at the end of March and accelerated from concept to commercial availability in six days and has already been deployed to hospitals across the UK.
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Mat Campbell-Hill, a senior fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Medical and Dental School, is the company’s co-founder and lead designer.
He said: “We’re so grateful to the Welsh Government for its support in developing the AerosolShield further and ensuring that our production can cope with the growing demand through this pandemic and beyond.
“From the very beginning, our sole focus has been to protect our friends and family who’ve been on the front lines of covid-19.
“From talking to colleagues in the NHS, it’s clear the constant fear of infection or of bringing the virus home to their loved ones has been just as big a threat to their mental and physical health as the illness itself.
“We want to offer these incredible professionals greater support to do the jobs that they are so committed to performing under the most challenging conditions.”
The grant is part of a Welsh Government scheme supporting innovative businesses and research organisations to deliver solutions to meet the challenges facing the NHS and care services as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The investment adds to £100,000 funding already secured in July from the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and a public crowdfunding campaign which has raised £35,000 to date.
The tent is manufactured by Airquee which is based in Cwmbran, South Wales, and has expertise in isolation and decontamination tents used by humanitarian organisations, health workers and the armed forces around the world.
Education Minister for Wales Kirsty Williams added: “I’m pleased to support this project as part of our support for innovation to tackle or treat the coronavirus within the Welsh Government’s wider actions to help fight covid-19.
“This funding is part of £6 million we’re providing towards research, development and innovation projects and small business research initiatives related to the coronavirus to benefit both the public and private sectors.”