Sir James Dyson, the founder of Dyson Ltd., whose cordless vacuum cleaners and hairstyling products have charmed the world, has designed a hospital ventilator for treating severe COVID-19 patients in less than 10 days to fulfill the alarming shortage of this device worldwide.
The Dyson ventilator, called “CoVent,” was developed just a week after the company received an order earlier this month from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson (who was confirmed to have contracted the virus on Friday) to produce 10,000 ventilators to help hospitals in the country cope with an influx of coronavirus patients.
“A ventilator supports a patient who is no longer able to maintain their own airways, but sadly there is currently a significant shortage, both in the U.K. and other countries around the world,” James Dyson told Dyson employees in an internal letter on Wednesday obtained by CNN Business.
“This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume,” James Dyson added. “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.”
Currently the NHS has just over 8,000 ventilators and the government has ordered a further 8,000 from existing domestic and international suppliers. But the health service is likely to need at least 30,000 to deal with the potential influx of patients to intensive care units and there are fears the ventilators will not arrive in time. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that thousands of machines would arrive in the coming weeks and months. But Professor Neil Ferguson, a key scientist who has been advising the government, said demand is likely to peak ‘in approximately two or three weeks’ followed by a decline if current lock down measures work.
Dyson plans to manufacture 15,000 units, of which 10,000 will go to U.K. hospitals as the government asked. A spokesperson for the company, which is best known for its vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, said the ventilators would be ready by early April. Dyson, who has wealth worth $10 billion according to Bloomberg, wrote in his letter that he would also donate 5,000 units to the international effort to tackle the pandemic.
In the U.S., automakers, including Tesla, Ford and GM, are utilizing their HVAC [Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning] manufacturing facilities to produce ventilators to fulfill domestic shortages.
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