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05 November 2014

North West firm’s new surgical gloves help aid teams tackle Ebola

Press Release 5th November 2014

Surgical gloves developed by a North West company are helping to combat the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

Leanvation, which has pioneered a latex-free range of surgical gloves, has received a significant order from a distributor supplying medical teams in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The company has despatched over 30,000 pairs already and is scheduled to provide a further 40,000 pairs before the end of the year.

Leanvation was set up last year by former healthcare executives Jonathan Day and Tony Downes, with backing from The North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by Enterprise Ventures. Both men had worked with established surgical brands and had spotted a gap in the market for latex-free surgical gloves.

Natural rubber latex contains harmful proteins which can cause irritation and potentially life-threatening allergies in medical staff and patients.  Latex allergy is an occupational hazard affecting as many as one in six healthcare workers and forcing some to end their careers. Leanvation's range of surgical gloves are made from a synthetic material that mimics the natural product but without the harmful ingredients.

Jonathan Day, Leanvation's Managing Director, said: "Ebola is estimated to have caused over 5,000 deaths in West Africa since March. Surgical gloves, and the barrier protection they afford, can literally make the difference between life and death for the healthcare workers tackling the outbreak. Leanvation gloves offer some key advantages over conventional products in this situation."

"These workers are forced to wear gloves for prolonged periods in hot, sweaty conditions, posing the threat of latex allergy to themselves and their patients. Latex-free gloves remove this risk. Because they are much softer than comparative surgical gloves and contain fewer chemicals, they are also more comfortable and can worn for longer with less chance of irritation. This can dramatically reduce the need to remove and replace gloves, and the danger of wearers being exposed to the virus as a result."

Every single pair of Leanvation gloves is tested to ensure there are no defects or holes. This level of assuredness regarding product quality means that Leanvation expect to receive further orders from West Africa for as long as the current Ebola outbreak continues.

Lisa Ward of Enterprise Ventures said: "Within a year of starting the business and developing an entirely latex-free surgical glove range, Leanvation has secured orders from the NHS and won its first orders overseas. These achievements demonstrate the value of its products."

The North West Fund for Venture Capital is part of The North West Fund which is financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.


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