In an effort to combat the fast-moving spread of coronavirus, brands from every industry and country are pitching in to help. In France, LVMH is making hand sanitizer; in Italy, Gucci is making face masks; and, in the UK, Dyson is now making ventilators.
Best known for its vacuum cleaners and high-end fans, the British home electronics giant‘s founder, Sir James Dyson, said he has designed a new ventilator that can help ease shortages in his home country, according to CNN. The company now intends to produce 10,000 devices for the country’s National Health Service over the next month.
“As with any battle, there are many challenges to overcome, not least the availability of essential equipment which in this case means ventilators,” the billionaire wrote in a letter to employees last week obtained by Fast Company. “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 said he designed the ventilator, which is called “CoVent,” in 10 days after receiving a call from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (who has since tested positive for the Covid-19 himself). Made in coordination with The Technology Partnership, the entirely new portable device can be mounted on a hospital bed and run on a battery power in field-hospital conditions.
“The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time,” he continued in the letter. “The race is now on to get it into production.”
While the ventilator still needs to get regulatory approval, a spokesperson for Dyson told CNN that the company hopes to have the ventilators ready by April. The company plans to produce 10,000 devices for the UK, and an additional 5,000 for donation internationally.
Covid-19 attacks the lung and can cause acute respiratory distress, making access to ventilators vital for every country combating the virus. Tesla, GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, have all pledged to help produce the devices in the US. Last week, the New York Times reported that America currently has just 160,000 ventilators, with 12,700 in the National Strategic Supply, but could need up to a million machines over the course of the outbreak, according to the Society of Critical Care Medicine.