Dyson Designs Portable Ventilator in 10 Days to Fight Coronavirus: 'The Race Is Now On'

It took Dyson just 10 days to design an entirely new ventilator meant to help coronavirus patients — and now, the company is making 15,000 of them, Dyson said.

The British Dyson, best known for its vacuums and hair dryers, was asked by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself has tested positive for coronavirus, for help amid a supply shortage.

The company’s billionaire founder James Dyson, 72, said in a letter to employees obtained by PEOPLE that the device, called CoVent, can be “manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume,” and was specifically designed with coronavirus patients in mind.

The machines are bed-mounted and portable, and can also run from battery power in field-hospital situations, according to Fast Company.

“A ventilator supports a patient who is no longer able to maintain their own airways, but sadly there is currently a significant shortage, both in the U.K. and other countries around the world,” read the letter. “The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time. The race is now on to get it into production.”

The U.K. government has ordered 10,000 CoVents to help treat the country’s coronavirus patients, of which there were 11,658 as of Friday afternoon, according to The New York Times.

Dyson will donate an additional 5,000 units — 1,000 to the U.K. and 4,000 to other countries.

“Ventilators are a regulated product so Dyson and [The Technology Partnership] will be working with the [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] and the Government to ensure that the product and the manufacturing process is approved,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, other moguls have been doing their part as well, like Elon Musk, who said earlier this week he’d procured 1,225 ventilators from China and had them shipped to help meet hospital demands in an effort California Gov. Gavin Newsom called “heroic.”

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization has urged countries to “optimize the availability” of ventilators — which assists in breathing functions — as oxygen therapy “is the major treatment intervention for patients with severe COVID-19.”

Musk, 48, previously floated the idea of using his Tesla car factory to manufacture ventilators during the coronavirus outbreak, tweeting last week, “We will make ventilators if there is a shortage.”

According to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, it’s been projected that 960,000 coronavirus patients in the U.S. will require the use of a ventilator during the health crisis. However, the organization estimates there are only 200,000 units available nationally.

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