Ventilator receives approval in UK’s battle against coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has given the first regulatory approval to a ventilator being built by a consortium of firms including Airbus and Rolls-Royce as part of efforts to combat the coronavirus.

Governments around the world are trying to boost the number of ventilators – mechanical breathing devices that can blow air and oxygen into the lungs – available to their health services.

The modified version of an existing device by Penlon will join a product from fellow medical firm Smiths, which is already being built by the group of aerospace, engineering, Formula 1 and automotive companies to fulfil a government order.

“We are working closely with our supply chain partners to rapidly scale up production to achieve our target of at least 1,500 units a week,” said Dick Elsy, the chief executive of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium.

The government said on Thursday it was confirming an order for 15,000 Penlon devices.

Airbus’ (AIR.PA) Broughton site, which makes wings for commercial aircraft, Ford’s Dagenham engine factory and McLaren’s Woking site are being used as part of the process, he said.

Separately, vacuum-cleaner firm Dyson is still awaiting approval for its ventilator.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Kate Holton

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