An R&D project to develop new technology to protect surgeons and patients from COVID-19 has received €2.4 million funding from the European Commission.
The rapid 18-month consortium project, PORSAV, is being led by Irish medical device, SME Palliare, in collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD), as well as Polish medical device manufacturer, SteriPack and leading French institution for surgical training, IRCAD. It will be project managed by Pintail Ltd.
When surgeons perform laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, surgical instruments and cameras are operated through a tube that holds the incision open. The patient’s body is inflated with carbon dioxide gas, to give the surgeon room to see and to operate.
However, small amounts of this gas can escape and these aerosols can contain viral particles, endangering surgeons and depositing the virus on operating room surfaces. The threat of these viral aerosols has a huge impact on the frequency and availability of surgery, appropriate safety protocols and the time it takes to clean the operating room between procedures.
The PORSAV project aims to address this problem through a new technological solution – developed by bringing together the expertise of European leaders in medical device manufacturing and academic leaders in digital surgery and engineering research and innovation.
Palliare has developed a vacuum ring, the LeakTrapTM, which captures stray air leaks that occur around the edge of the keyhole surgery tube or the incision, and pipes potentially infectious air away for correct disposal.
A similar device, the EndoTrapTM, protects gastroenterologists performing endoscopies from the breath, coughing or sneezing of their patients. The PORSAV project plans to produce thousands of LeakTraps and EndoTraps to be used in operating rooms around the world.
Commenting the initiative, Palliare co-founder, John O’Dea said, "Our experience in Med Tech innovation has always been that the progress of any significant medical device hinges on the collaboration of passionate clinicians and passionate engineers. Palliare has found such a passion for clinical innovation in surgery and for active publication in Professor Ronan Cahill at UCD and Professors Perretta and Dallemagne at IRCAD in Strasbourg. We are excited about moving forward in researching and trialling new surgical devices with these innovative physicians."