In some good coronavirus news, Dyson has developed a new ventilator to help help combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The new ventilator, named “CoVent”, was designed and completed in an extremely expedited fashion with the British company going to work immediately after receiving a phone call from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The company’s founder, James Dyson, explains the product and the need for quick work by saying, “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 UK and other countries around the world.”
Dyson is best known for its vacuum cleaners although they do offer an array of household and retail goods such as hand dryers, air treatments, and lighting set ups.
The Race to Production
Since CoVent’s inception, the UK government has put in an order for 10,000 units. Dyson himself is donating an additional 5,000 units to the international fight against COVID-19. In Dyson’s written statement, he explores the unique time constraints presented by the pandemic, saying, “”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.” A spokesman for Dyson said that the ventilators would be ready by early April.
Although Dyson has a design ready to go, there are still a couple of obstacles in the way. The first comes in the form of Gtech, a UK home appliance company also known for their vacuum cleaners. Gtech has submitted two examples to the government hoping to land the contract.
The second hurdle comes in the form of regulations. UK business minister Alok Sharma has made clear that any ventilator purchased by the NHS would need to meet regulatory requirements. He hopes to see “prototypes coming forward in a matter of weeks before we move into large scale production,” and stressed that “the critical point is to make sure that any machines that come forward actually meet the requirements and are safe.”
How is the Progress Stateside?
US based companies are working to produce and develop ventilators to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic as well. Ford has announced its partnership with 3M and General Electric Healthcare, the focus of which is manufacturing an array of necessary medical equipment ranging from ventilators to protective gear. General Motors and Tesla have both pledged to produce ventilators as well.
With the rapid progression of the outbreak around the world, one would hope that whichever company produces an effective and safe ventilator will start filling orders across the globe, regardless of the companies location. In order to truly combat the virus — and to avoid the fiasco with the COVID-19 tests that we are just getting through — we need to distribute these medical supplies and ventilators as soon as possible.