DOST-PCHRD, UP Manila to develop Powered, Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) for healthcare workers

With the pressing need to continuously develop ways to prevent COVID-19 transmission especially among healthcare workers, the University of the Philippines - Manila (UPM), with support from the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), will conduct the project: “SIBOL Personal Protective Equipment - Design and Development of Locally-Manufactured, Reusable, Powered, Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR).”

The project proponents aim to design and develop an innovative PAPR as a chemical and biological protection for COVID-19 high-risk procedures such as intubation, endoscopies, sample collection and testing, among others. The equipment will serve as an additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 while they care for the infected patients.

A PAPR uses a pump that moves contaminated air through a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter which removes particulates through mechanical and electrostatic mechanisms. Built with three main components, the motor or air pump, the filter, and the mask or helmet, the PAPR provides contaminant-free air to the user.

By conducting the project, we are aiming to offer additional protection for our healthcare workers, so that they may be able to carry out their tasks safely and comfortably,” says project leader Dr. Samuel Arsenio Grozman.

Our healthcare workers are at the core of our battle against COVID-19,” emphasizes DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya. “It is imperative that we mobilize our resources and maximize our capacities to provide R&D solutions that will assist and protect them in this fight,” he adds.

Aside from developing a PAPR that will meet the standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the project also aims to activate the supply chain towards the production and testing of PAPR in the country.

As a highly-communicable disease with no definitive treatment, COVID-19 continues to pose risks to public health, especially healthcare workers who work at the frontlines.