The situation echoes the experience in the UK. Vacuum cleaner maker Dyson claimed to have an order for 10,000 ventilators from the UK government for its new CoVent design developed by TTP in Cambridge. However the deal seems to be dependent on approval from the MHRA medical hardware agency. Supply of components such as motors and batteries may also be an issue as Dyson makes its consumer products in Malaysia.
A separate design developed another vacuum cleaner maker Gtech, did not use electricity and relied on two plungers powered by the oxygen flow. However this had no battery back-up and so did not meet the UK government’s specification released earlier in the week.
Several other projects are looking to deliver designs for approval. The Ventilator Challenge group is led by Airbus with engineering firms GKN, Rolls Royce, Ford and Mclaren, and aims to produce ventilator systems developed by Penlon, based near Oxford, and Smiths Medical, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, US and has an office in Kent, UK.
One of Penlo’s designs, the Nuffield 200 Anaesthetic Ventilator can provide a quick and simple alternative ventilator solution and like the Gtech design is driven by the oxygen flow without the need for power.
Another ventilator design is OxVent, developed at the University of Oxford with Kings College London. The open source design could be manufactured from off the shelf components for under £1000 says the team.