Dyson says UK government does not need its COVID-19 ventilator

FILE PHOTO: A Dyson logo is seen on 5th Ave in New York, New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

LONDON (Reuters) - Vacuum cleaner company Dyson said the British government no longer needed the ventilator it had developed from scratch to help plug a shortfall of the devices needed to treat patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Dyson said last month it had received an order for 10,000 of the machines. The new design needed regulatory approval before they could be used on large numbers of patients.

Company founder James Dyson said the company had welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s challenge to build ventilators.

“Mercifully they are not required, but we don’t regret our contribution to the national effort for one moment,” he said in a statement.

Dyson said his company had spent around 20 million pounds ($25 million) on the project to date, and would not accept any public money.

“I have some hope that our ventilator may yet help the response in other countries, but that requires further time and investigation,” he said.

Governments around the world are trying to boost the number of available breathing devices that can supply air and oxygen crucial for the care of people who suffer lung failure, which can be a complication of COVID-19.

A group of companies including Airbus and Ford have teamed up to build ventilators based on two existing designs. The consortium is working to manufacture 20,000 machines ordered by the British government.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison