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Ventilator project gets green light from UK government

OxVent project to proceed to next stage of testing for safety and usability

Prototype of air-driven Ambu box seen from the top

OxVent is a multidisciplinary team of engineers and medics at the University of Oxford and King’s College London. The team has been shortlisted by the UK government to go to the next stage of testing for safety and usability for their ventilator prototype.

If the ventilator passes the required MHRA safety tests, it will rapidly move into production with the medical manufacturing company, Smith and Nephew (S&N) based in Hull.

This green light enables the team to test their prototype ventilators, developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and forecasted acute shortage of ventilators. The next stage would be the manufacture of 6,000 ventilators and deployment through the NHS. The design could also be used in other healthcare settings.

The team, led by Oxford Professor Andrew Farmery, Engineering Science Professors Mark Thompson and Alfonso Castrejon-Pita and DPhil student Rob Staruch, and King's College London’s Professor Sebastien Ourselin and Dr Federico Formenti, have defined a simple, safe and scalable design that will meet the strict specifications for use with patients. The design will exploit off-the-shelf components and equipment with elements that can be produced through 3D printing techniques.

Professor Mark Thompson says: "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. Collaboration is in our DNA and I am so proud of the team and the amazing support from our universities."

Dr Federico Formenti of King’s College London says: "We are a group of academic engineers and anaesthetists from King’s College London and the University of Oxford and are honoured to be shortlisted by the UK Government in our endeavour to help strengthen the NHS in the coming weeks. OxVent’s aim is to maximise impact in the UK, and reach beyond UK borders too. We have been overwhelmed with generous offers and messages of support from companies and individuals across the UK and beyond."

S&N is excited to bring its vast amount of expertise in medical device manufacturing into the team.

Find out more about the project and see videos

Find out more about Oxford University's efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic