A BLACKBURN company is providing pioneering silicone technology to aid the fightback against coronavirus.

Silicone Engineering, based in Greenbank Business Park, is supply materials needed to produce vital intubation shields for NHS hospitals as the UK prepares for a possible second wave of virus infections.

The shields are then sent to the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry where they are adapted into medical incubators from there sent on to the frontline where NHS doctors and nurses need them most.

Silicone Engineering marketing manager Simon Holmes said: “Since the pandemic hit, we’ve had to adapt and understand new uses and applications for our silicone rubber products, many being for frontline NHS equipment such as face shields and intubation shields.

"Working closely with our customer MTC, we supplied our kSil® silicone sheeting that was being converted by MTC and used to cover portholes and entry points on intubation shields."

Explaining how the material is used, he added: “Intubation shields act as a protective barrier to help protect medical staff when inserting ventilation tubes into infected patients.”

Patients with severe breathing difficulties as a result the virus may need to be placed on a ventilator to help them breathe, and intubation shields allow healthcare workers to insert the tube into the patient’s mouth and down the airway with minimum exposure to the virus.

This procedure is known as intubation, while removing the tube is known as extubation.

Silicone Engineering’s sheeting, which forms a flexible protective barrier around a healthcare worker’s arms as they work enables medical staff to reach inside the shield to fit and remove ventilation tubes.

This comes as industry experts predict that the global market for ventilators, which cannot function without vital silicone components including shields, could grow from $2.4 billion to as much as $12.1 billion, an increase of 404%.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre has also worked in partnership with firms like Rolls Royce and hospitals like the Royal London to develop the most effective anti-virus protection equipment.

Mr Holmes said: “As a manufacturer, we felt extremely proud to be supporting MTC as well as others in the efforts to combat the virus and continue to do with our silicone rubber.”

For more information visit: https://silicone.co.uk/news/silicone-sheeting-for-intubation-shields-for-covid-19/.