Sir James Dyson, the founder of Dyson Ltd., has told staff that the medical ventilators they had been developing to help Covid-19 patients were “no longer required.”
The inventor and entrepreneur had already spent £20 million of his own money on producing ventilators after the British government requested help from the private sector, but the expected order of 10,000 machines for the NHS never materialised.
Called ‘CoVent’, the ventilator was designed to be battery-powered and used in various locations, including ambulances and field hospitals.
In a note to staff, Sir James said that only a quarter of ventilators produced to fight the virus were being used, and that the demand was considerably less than first envisaged. His own product was undergoing clinical trials this week.
“Mercifully they are not required, but we don’t regret our contribution to the national effort for one moment,” Dyson said.
An order for 15,000 ventilators was placed with a consortium of companies that included Airbus however, after the group used an existing design to fast-track production and regulatory approval.
Significant fears were expressed in March that the UK would require 36,000 ventilators, but those concerns have been assuaged for now, with government officials estimating that only half of that figure, 18,000, will be needed.
Dyson however have decided to continue trialing their newly designed ventilator, in the hopes that they might be of benefit to another country.
“I have some hope that our ventilator may yet help the response in other countries, but that requires further time and investigation,” Sir James said.
“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.”