Dyson to provide 10,000 ventilators in virus fight
Vacuum cleaner company Dyson will provide 10,000 ventilators to Britain's National Health Service for patients suffering with coronavirus.
The company responded to a request from the UK government earlier this month that companies turn their hand to manufacturing ventilators - a critical piece of medical equipment in short supply globally that helps patients to breathe.
Dyson has used its expertise in motoring and design to create a ventilator it calls CoVent, which is bed mounted and battery operated so can work in field hospitals.
It uses the same expertise the company uses for its air purifiers and is powered by a digital motor.
Founder James Dyson wrote in a memo to staff that "hospitals are the frontline in the war against COVID-19, where heroic doctors, nurses, and care workers are battling to save lives and help people recover from this terrible virus."
"Since I received a call from Boris Johnson ten days ago, we have refocused resources at Dyson, and worked with TTP, The Technology Partnership, to design and build an entirely new ventilator, The CoVent. This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume," he said.
"It is designed to address the specific clinical needs of COVID-19 patients, and it is suited to a variety of clinical settings. The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time. The race is now on to get it into production."
The company has received an initial order of 10,000 from the UK government but said it was too early to say whether they would be exported to other countries like Australia.
The size of the commission shows the extent of the outbreak in the UK, where nearly 600 people have already died of the disease. It has also reached the upper echelons of UK society with Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson testing positive.
James Dyson said he would also donate 5,000 units to the international effort to fight the virus, 1,000 of which will go to the United Kingdom.
It comes as London hospital bosses warn they are facing a "tsunami" of cases in the coming weeks with hospitals already filling up. London's ExCel exhibition centre has been converted into a 4000 bed ward for patients.
Governments around the world are scrambling to find the medical equipment required to treat the disease which is estimated to be mild in up to 80 per cent of people. However for some in the riskiest categories it leads to respiratory distress and can be fatal.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pleaded with other US states to send breathing machines to New York as the city suffers under the strain.
The city is currently converting existing machines into makeshift ventilators and splitting one machine between two patients which Mr Cuomo said is "not ideal but we believe it's workable".
However the American Society of Anesthesiologists disagreed with the practise, saying that sharing a breathing machine for two people is dangerous and could prevent both patients from benefiting because "ventilation needs to be individually tailored and monitored continuously.
Originally published as Dyson to provide 10,000 ventilators