Game-changing ventilators have yet to be given approval by medical regulator

None of the new life-saving mechanical ventilators ordered last month to cope with the increase in coronavirus patients has so far been awarded safety approval.

Models by manufacturers such as Dyson have yet to get the green light from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the Financial Times reported.

It comes a month after the Government issued a rallying cry to put non-medical manufacturers such as Dyson on a “war footing” to make additional machines.

The lag is thought to be due in part to changing clinical understanding of how best to manage the virus.

On Monday, the Department of Health said it was “currently updating” the technical specifications for its Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System scheme.

There was some good news over Easter, however, as the first of a batch of ParaPac devices, made by Smiths Medical – whose production lines have been boosted by the involvement of The Ventilator Challenge UK (TVUK) group – were sent to wards across the UK.

Production of the model, which was already being built before the Covid-19 outbreak, was scaled up by the involvement of the consortium, which includes the Mercedes, McLaren and Williams Formula One racing teams .

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show earlier this month that 18,000 ventilators would be needed in the coming weeks, down from an original target of 30,000.  

The NHS now has access to 10,120, including 200 it acquired last week, up from 8,175 in mid-March.

A Government spokesman said that, in the four weeks since the Ventilator Challenge was launched, it had made “rapid progress, with new designs currently being tested by clinicians to ensure they meet the necessary standards for patient safety and effectiveness of treatment”.

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