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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Southampton’s PeRSo respirator hood on public display

Published: 8 June 2022

Southampton’s innovative PeRSo respirator hood that was developed by Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS) researchers, is being displayed at the SeaCity Museum as a lasting legacy to the important role it played in protecting frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PeRSo started off as a conversation between IfLS Deputy Director and Professor of Bioelectronics Hywel Morgan, and IfLS member and Professor of Respiratory Medicine Paul Elkington. A week later and thanks to the hard work of a team from across the University, the first protype went from concept to reality. A number of iterations later and 20,000 products were in use across 20 NHS Trusts.

One of the prototype products is now displayed at the Rainbows and Community Spirit exhibition that is running until July 24. The exhibition is about the responses of Southampton people to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Maria Newbery, Curator of Maritime and Local Collections at the Museum, said: “The exhibition contains a prototype of the PeRSo hood and photographs of the equipment in use. It helps tell the story of Southampton’s role in the national response to the crisis as well as illustrating the ingenuity and resilience displayed by University and NHS staff.

“We hope that after the exhibition closes, the items will become part of the museum collection and be on show in the Southampton Stories gallery to help tell the story of Southampton people for future generations.”

Professor Paul Elkington said: “The PeRSo project was very much a product of Southampton, involving close working between the University, the NHS Trust and local industry to provide a rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis, and we named it Personal Respirator Southampton to recognise this.

“Ultimately, it is important that the local population see positive outcomes from having a research-focused University and the benefit of such partnerships to support similar future responses.”

SeaCity Museum is open Monday to Sunday 10am to 5pm and visitors are advised to book tickets before they go.

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