Research teams of Faculties of Engineering and Medicine have jointly developed a KKU-PAPR Suit, an innovation against COVID-19 for the health professionals, answering social dedication policy

Assoc. Prof. Jeeranuch Sngiamsak, Ph.D., Vice Dean for Research and International Relation of the Faculty of Engineering, Khon Kaen University reported to the news correspondents about the KKU-PAPR Suit for protection against COVID-19. At the beginning of 2020, when Thailand and all countries around the world were facing the new contagious disease, Covid-19, the health professionals were at the frontline to face the situation where they had to give medical care and treatment to the patients. This situation has still been going on for 3 years now, making the health professionals work hard in order to make Thai people saved from the disease. The Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, with the roles in research and building new bodies of knowledge to answer the social and national needs, thus joined in brainstorming ideas and energy to find the ways to mitigate the trouble and help the health professionals to be safe from contracting the disease whilst they were performing their duties. The two institutions therefore have invented an innovation called the PAPR Suit (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) that is a set of equipment to protect the respiratory tract by provision of purified air. The innovation was developed by Dr. Nawaphak Ua-anan from the Department of Computer Engineering; Assoc. Prof. Jeeranuch Sngiamsak, Ph.D., and Dr. Thanawut Tantisoparak, from the Department of Electrical Engineering; and Dr. Tinnakorn Khamsaen from the Department of Chemical Engineering. The PAPR Suit was formerly hard to find and was of high cost. The research team developed the KKU-PAPR Suit by starting from Gen.1.0, Gen.1.2

to the latest version, Gen.2.0, the property of which is comparable to PAPR99-PAPR100. The suit protects the respiratory tract by distributing purified air to the user, or the health professional. The development received donation at an amount of around 800,000 baht from the Electrical Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT), Khon Kaen Pueng Thao Kong Ma Association, and the public; which covered the research, experimenting on designing and making the prototype up to production. The donation money was deposited in the Faculty of Engineering Research Fund and was used for producing the PAPR Suit for the hospital and health professionals. The first lot of 54 suits was already sent to users. The production cost was 5,000 baht per suit. The PAPR suits were given to the following hospitals: Phuwiang Hospital – 4 suits, Nam Phong Hospital – 2 suits, Tha Rua TAO, Ayudhaya – 3 suits, Phon Hospital – 2 suits, Waeng Yai Hospital – 1 suit, Ban Phai Hospital – 2 suits, Krungthep Hospital Khon Kaen – 5 suits, Pueng Thao Kong Ma Association – 5 suits, Srinagarind Hospital – 7 suits, Nong Bua Daeng Hospital – 2 suits, Nong Song Hong Hospital – 2 suits, Kranuan Hospital – 2 suits, Ubonratana Hospital – 2 suits, Ban Fang Hospital – 2 suits, Chum Phae Hospital – 4 suits, and 9 suits to hospitals in Ubon Ratchathani Province.

Assoc. Prof. Jeeranuch went on to say that for over a year that passed, the KKU-PAPR Suits sent to different hospitals have practically been used. The research team was informed of good feedback from the health professionals that the suits made them feel more confident in performing different procedures on their patients. The feedback inspired the Faculty to proceed with the research for social dedication that meets the objective of Khon Kaen University to “Dedicate to the society, produce research and innovation that answer the needs of the country”. The University has an intention to develop the quality of life of people in Isan, as His Majesty King Rama IX said on the occasion of the opening of Khon Kaen University with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on December 20, 1967 that the founding of Khon Kaen University is beneficial to the country, for education is now expanded to another important region of the country. This brings advantages to the development and upgrading of the living of the people in the region. The success in founding Khon Kaen University is the success everyone should be happy about.

“The Faculty of Engineering is dedicated and is well-prepared in terms of manpower and knowledge that will help in driving forward research work and invention of innovations that answer the needs of the societies at the national and international levels, of the governmental and private organizations in the country and abroad,” said Assoc. Prof. Jeeranuch.

Khon Sahachat Pila-on, Assistant to the Director for Northeast Operations, EGAT

Khun Wadee Taweesaengsakulthai, Treasurer, Pueng Thao Kong Ma Association

[Thai]