A ventilator designed by Dyson to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic at a cost of £20m is “no longer required” by the government, the vacuum cleaner company has said.
Billionaire entrepreneur Sir James Dyson previously revealed that the “CoVent” was developed at the request of the prime minister – who himself caught COVID-19 – and that the government had ordered 10,000 units.
The Wiltshire-based firm responded to a Number 10 appeal for companies to take part in a national effort to increase the number of ventilators to treat patients with the deadly virus.
The battery-powered machine was designed to be used in various settings, including field hospitals and when patients were being transported.
It needed regulatory approval before it could be used on large numbers of patients.
In a message to staff, Sir James said that Dyson had “welcomed the government’s challenge”.
He continued: “Mercifully they are not required, but we don’t regret our contribution to the national effort for one moment.
“I have some hope that our ventilator may yet help the response in other countries, but that requires further time and investigation.
“We have spent around £20 million on this project to date, but we will not accept any public money.
“The team have worked 24/7 to design and manufacture a sophisticated ventilator in a short timeframe – I hope they can spend this weekend with their families who will not have seen them for weeks.”
Lung failure can be a complication of the disease and ventilators are used to supply air and crucial oxygen to the patient.
Governments around the world are trying to boost the number of available breathing devices that can do this.
A group of companies including Airbus and Ford have teamed up to build ventilators based on two existing designs, with the consortium working to manufacture 20,000 machines ordered by the British government.
Machines to treat sleep disorders are also being used to treat patients.
Doctors at Warrington Hospital have modified devices known as “black boxes”, which usually treat sleep apnoea – a condition which means breathing stops and starts while sleeping.
The clinicians say by treating COVID-19 patients early with their “black boxes”, it has meant there has been less need for the more intrusive and invasive ventilators, and they’ve experienced a far quicker recovery rate.