British scientists develop new ventilator for NHS in a week 

It is hoped the simple design of the device will make it easy for manufacturers to produce on a large scale

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The Government has previously said the NHS has around 8,000 ventilators at its disposal - but needs around 30,000 to cope with demand in the coming months
The Government has previously said the NHS has around 8,000 ventilators at its disposal - but needs around 30,000 to cope with demand in the coming months Credit: Shutterstock

British scientists have developed a new ventilator in the space a week - and say it is now available for use by the NHS.

Researchers from Oxford University and King’s College London hope a new prototype could be mass-produced within a fortnight as fresh coronavirus cases flood hospitals. 

The Government has previously said the NHS has around 8,000 ventilators at its disposal - but needs around 30,000 to cope with demand in the coming months. 

The “OxVent” features a simple design which it is believed will help manufacturers create them at speed, with Sony reportedly confident it could make 5,000 a week. 

Its design centres on kit already widely in use at NHS hospitals - a resuscitation bag and valves - and squeezes air into the lungs using a simple electronic set up. 

Robert Staruch, an engineering PHD student at Oxford University, said he suggested the idea to his supervisor and within a week they had assembled a team of around 30 experts and produced a working prototype.

“I was watching the news and how things were developing and I felt very strongly that Oxford had a huge amount of expertise and resources and I thought that we must be able to work together to come up with a solution,” he said.

The Army doctor told The Telegraph that they presented the ventilator to the Government on Monday and are still waiting to hear back on whether or not the design is wanted.

  But the team are pushing ahead and are due to begin clinical trials in two hospitals next week.

If they get the green light then Sony have offered to manufacture the electrical board .

Boris Johnson has put out a call to manufacturers from various industries to refocus their production lines to make ventilators, with Formula 1 teams and Dyson among those taking up the challenge.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) along with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons called on vets across the country to donate human-appropriate equipment to doctors fighting coronavirus.

Although they are used on animals, the ventilators vets use are often compatible with humans.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The government’s number one priority is tackling this outbreak.

“We have already doubled our ventilator capacity and thousands more are expected to be available in the coming weeks, which will help save lives across the country.

“Following the Prime Minister’s recent call to action, we received offers of support from more than 3,000 UK businesses to step up the production of vital medical equipment, such as ventilators - we want to thank them for their overwhelming support.”