Ventilators just 1/10 price of NHS ones made by British university team

The shortage of ventilators during the coronavirus crisis may have been solved by a team of super-smart engineers with a machine 10 times cheaper than the ones used by the NHS at the moment.

Researchers at the University of Oxford and the University of London have designed what they think is a working ventilator that could go into production right away, BBC News reports.

The machine, called “OxVent”, was demonstrated to British cabinet ministers this week.

In the clip, an engineer working on the project explains that inside the box is a "standard ambulance bag" which is normally compressed by hand, but in this case, uses pressure from the air supply.

By using common "off the shelf" components – 40 in total – the team has managed to create a ventilator quickly as well as inexpensively.

OxVent will be tested in Birmingham and may cost as little as £1,000 per unit, whereas the mainstream ventilators currently used by the NHS can cost upwards of £10,000.

Andrew Farmery, Professor of Anaesthetics at the University of Oxford, said: “We want something that is simple and can be built.

“I mean, sure, we can make a ventilator as fancy as you like but ‘I’ll get it to you in October if that’s alright’, that’s not an option.”

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK has also ordered 10,000 ventilators from Dyson, better known for making vacuum cleaners and hair dryers.

In a statement, Dyson said: "This is a highly complex project being undertaken in an extremely challenging timeframe.

"We are conducting a fully regulated medical device development, including testing in the laboratory and in humans, and we are scaling up for volume."

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