British motorsport pioneers in technology, Prodrive, has been working closely with Cambridge University to release a low-cost ventilator to help the patients in the hospitals around the world battle against the COVID-19 virus.
The Open Ventilator System Initiative (OVSI) concept is designed by the Cambridge University Whittle Laboratory using components from outside medical supply to reduce the costs. In just five weeks time after Prodrive has received the concept, they have been working on a fully functional prototype ready for production.
“Fulfilling the unique requirements of local clinicians was key to this project, clinicians told us the ventilator needed to cover the wide spectrum of patient ventilation requirements, and therefore work in three modes – non-invasive, mandatory or patient-triggered ventilation.” Professor Axel Zeitler from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, and OVSI team lead, said.
Since April, Prodrive has established a team of 20 workers at their headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire to work seven days a week to design the parts manufactured by medically appropriate materials that would be ready for a high volume of production.
The Prodrive team have also designed the electronic and electrical system and completely written a new software to be easier to use in the intensive medical environment by the medical staff.
The first fully working prototype was assembled at their headquarters and the ventilator has been ongoing some tests provided by the UK’s government Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS) specification.
“I am particularly proud of how our team, who had no previous medical experience, gave their time freely and brought this project to fruition in record time. It’s a true vindication of our strategy of applying a motorsport culture to complex technical challenges that require an innovative approach.” David Richards, the Chairman of Prodrive, said.
The new ventilator is set to shipped to the African continent, as the World Health Organization (WHO) do predict the COVID-19 would hit hard in Africa for the upcoming three to six months. There are already 2000 ventilators ready to be used in 41 countries on the African continent, with ten of them having none at all.
The ventilator will be released as open-source and there are two South African companies that will be getting the design to start the production, Defy that is a domestic appliance manufacturer and Denel which is a state-owned business.
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