North Somerset inventor secures Australian kit to help fight spread of coronavirus

picture of covid hood

Covid hood by Dr Richard Lawson. - Credit: GP Richard Lawson

A retired GP turned inventor has secured kit from Australia which he says could prevent Covid-19 patients from infecting hospital staff. 

Richard Lawson drafted plans for a hood that filters the air breathed out by infectious patients, in a bid to tackle the “serious problem” of hospital-acquired infection. 

Hoping to convince regulators, he contacted the manufacturers of the Medihood, a similar idea already in use in Australia, who have sent him three units free of charge. 

Churchill resident Dr Lawson is now offering to lend them to local hospitals to study their effectiveness in stopping the spread of coronavirus. 

He said: “Any front line healthcare worker attending a patient with Covid-19 who is located inside a Medihood will not be at risk of inhaling Covid droplets or aerosols.

"This aspect has been very popular with healthcare workers. 

“So far, it has been found especially useful in Australia, especially in emergency rooms, where it has been used for patients coming in with suspected, but as yet unconfirmed, Covid-19, because they can be managed without donning and doffing extra layers of PPE.”

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The Medihood features a transparent physical barrier and a filter to clean the air. 

Dr Lawson said he was offering them on the condition that the hospitals keep detailed records of the age, condition and outcome of patients who use them. 

He wants to test the hypothesis that patients will need shorter stays and their illness will be less intense if they do not re-breathe the virus they exhale. 

He also believes fewer staff will be infected when they treat patients in one of the hoods. 

Dr Lawson’s idea was a hood that fits over the patient’s head, while the Medihood is on a larger scale, pulling down over the torso but with various access points. 

He has pitched his invention to the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

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