Welsh coronavirus ventilator approved by the UK Government

The ventilator designed and built in Wales, which could potentially save thousands of lives, will now undergo clinical trials.

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Last month we reported on the Covid Emergency Ventilator, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which  was designed by Dr Rhys Thomas and CR Clarke & Co in Betws.

The senior consultant at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen had expressed concern at the lack of intensive care unit ventilators and was challenged by Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price to come up with an alternative.

Rhys said the machine helps patients breathe and ensures that they are only supplied with purified air.

He added “I wanted to come up with a simpler but potentially as-effective device and was put in touch with Maurice Clarke of CR Clarke & Co.

“We came up with a device that worked perfectly. It is simple and robust and specifically designed to work against Covid virus in a contagious environment.

“Although it won’t replace intensive care unit ventilators, the majority of patients won’t need intensive care if they are treated with this ventilator first, releasing those ventilators for more serious Covid-19 cases and other general medical cases.”

The device has already been given the go ahead from the Welsh Government and was used to treat a patient in Llanelli who had tested positive for coronavirus within days of being designed.

It has now been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care which is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices used in the UK.

This means the ventilator will now undergo clinical trials in the hope that hundreds of the machines can be made every day and used used in hospitals across the UK.

Hywel Dda University Health Board, which is working with Carmarthenshire Council to set up field hospitals in Carmarthen and Llanelli, welcomed the news and said that the design will undergo a “rapid evaluation”.

Professor Keir Lewis, respiratory lead for Hywel Dda, said “This potentially promising CPAP machine now has the appropriate plans and support across Wales to undergo a rapid and careful evaluation with patients and we await the outcome of these trials with interest.”

Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire council, Emlyn Dole, said “This is a fantastic example of medical and technical expertise coming together at a critical time to meet the formidable challenge of dealing with this terrible virus.

“Hywel Dda Health Board must be commended for their faith in facilitating the project during this crisis, which is unprecedented in our lifetime.

“It is encouraging to see the local business sector bringing innovation and entrepreneurship to the fore in this present crisis.

“Carmarthenshire is as prepared as we can be but anything which helps take pressure off our hospitals and NHS staff, and helps save lives, would obviously be most welcome.”

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