Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Thai scientists developing ‘gold standard’ PPE suits

May 27. 2020
Photo credit: Hfocus
Photo credit: Hfocus
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By The Nation

Thai scientists are developing Level 4 bio-hazard suits in a bid to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign imports of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) and the textile industry are collaborating on the “gold standard” protective suits after successfully developing Level 2 suits, revealed Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Sopon Mekthon.

The (GPO) together with the Textile Industry Development Institute and the Textile Federation of Thailand are producing 100,000 sets of their "We Fight" edition Level 2 PPE suits, which will be ready for delivery in June and July. The Level 2 suits are made from polyester fabric with a waterproof coating, and can be washed for reuse up to 20 times. They will be delivered to hospitals to reduce the cost of importing from abroad and support domestic Thai development and manufacture of medical equipment.

The level 2 suit protects medial staff from low to medium infection risk enabling them to safely care for patients who don’t need a respirator, to collect samples, and to screen patients. The first batch of 44,000 suits are expected to be delivered by the end of May, each worth around Bt500.

Photo credit: Hfocus

The Health Ministry’s Dr Sopon said Thailand would also soon be able to produce its own Level 4 suits. However, the main development focus is on the production of level 2 PPE, which accounts for up to 80 per cent of the protective gear used during the virus crisis. Level 4 PPE is used only in cases of high risk.

The level 4 PPE suits are single-use and cost around Bt300 per set – about the same price as an imported suit. THE GPO expects that about 100,000 sets will be needed.

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