The University of Southampton

Southampton cleanrooms supply vital protective gear to NHS in COVID-19 fight

Published: 8 April 2020

In response to the pandemic, the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics has supplied around 50,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the NHS.

The Zepler Institute is a multi-disciplinary centre for materials and device research in electronics, photonics and nanotechnology that has a large clean room complex.

Following a request from the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), staff from the Zepler Institute helped collect and catalogue stocks of PPE, including 34,700 gloves, 7,000 masks, 6,200 overshoes, 340 coveralls, 146 safety glasses and 25 gowns.

The contribution is part of around 80,000 pieces of protective gear passed from the University of Southampton to the city's NHS CCG.

The PPE will be distributed to local primary care services, care homes and domiciliary support services.

Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the Zepler Institute, said: "I would like to thank our team for the speed at which they identified and released this huge contribution to local health and care services. There has been a fantastic collaborative response across the University and I hope this equipment can ease some of the pressure on frontline NHS staff.

"Alongside other University departments, researchers in the Zepler Institute are advancing essential research on several COVID-19 related projects and I hope this work will have a substantial impact on defeating the disease in the near future."

The Southampton Coronavirus Response Fund has been set up to support and accelerate the University's urgent work in tackling the global pandemic.

In one project, engineers and medical staff are working with industry partners including McLaren and Kemp Sails to test a prototype of a personal respirator they have developed for frontline healthcare staff.

Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine are also trialling an inhaled drug that could prevent worsening of COVID-19 in those most at risk.

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