British government ends support for four new ventilator designs

Matt Hancock says gov won’t support making of new ventilators; coronavirus; covid-19
Health Secretary Matt Hancock

Four teams who have been working on ventilators in response to the Government’s urgent call for more machines for the NHS have been told their designs will not go ahead.

The British government has announced it will continue to support 11 of 15 projects as part of the Ventilator Challenge to help drive up supplies of the machines.

Designs from Dyson and BAE Systems, who are among those who offered to create devices, currently have support but are to be reassessed by a clinical panel next week.

The devices which have been stood down include EVA made by Team and Cogent Technology; Helix made by Diamedica and Plexus; OxVent made by KCL, Oxford University and Smith+Nephew along with InVicto which was made by JFD.

The UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked all the companies who were involved, adding: “Since we launched the Ventilator Challenge the ingenuity and innovation shown by so many companies has been truly awe-inspiring and has helped us continue to get ventilators to the frontline and keep capacity ahead of demand.

An additional 2,400 mechanical ventilators have been made available to the NHS since the start of the pandemic, with over 250 coming from the Ventilator Challenge so far, according to the Cabinet Office.

The number of extra ventilators rises to 6,745 in total, if both mechanical and non-invasive ventilators are included.

The UK now has 10,900 mechanical invasive ventilators available to the NHS, as well as 4,300 non-invasive devices.

Advice from clinical and technical experts has been used to pick which devices will continue as part of the Ventilator Challenge.

Orders have been made by the Government for 15,000 Penlon Prima ESO2 ventilators, the first newly-adapted device to gain receive regulatory approval in the Ventilator Challenge.

Smiths paraPAC ventilators, an existing device, are also being manufactured “at speed and at scale” as part of the challenge, the Cabinet Office said.

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