Smith & Nephew is contracting with the U.K. government to build a new ventilator specifically designed for the large-scale production needed to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Developed through a collaboration including the company, the University of Oxford and King’s College London, the OxVent device is currently being reviewed by the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority, known as the MHRA.
Smith & Nephew plans to begin production as soon as it is authorized at its facility in Hull, England.
“We are proud to be able to support this vital effort and help meet the U.K. government’s ventilator challenge to ensure the NHS is equipped for treating patients with COVID-19,” said Smith & Nephew CEO Roland Diggelmann.
“I want to thank all our employees who are working long hours to make this happen, while also ensuring continued production of the important medical products already manufactured at our Hull site to support other patients,” added Diggelmann, the former Roche Diagnostics CEO who was named head of the medtech manufacturer last October.
The OxVent device features a small, simple design exploiting off-the-shelf components and 3D printed equipment. The team has been shortlisted by the U.K. government to enter testing for safety and usability.
“In less than two weeks the students, researchers and academics driving this project have brainstormed a prototype, developed into a highly-structured efficient and effective team and won government backing,” said Mark Thompson, an associate professor of engineering science at Oxford.
As of April 1, the U.K. has seen about 30,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with over 2,350 deaths, according to international health authorities.