A modern version of the "iron lung", which was backed by the family of late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, is due to be trialled with the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.
The new version of the "iron lung" was created by scientists from the Royal National Hospital and the University of Warwick, as well as specialists from the Marshall Aerospace & Defense Group. The device, which was used to battle the polio crisis in the 20th century, already exists in the form of a prototype, which in the foreseeable future could be tested in British hospitals.
"As the family of a ventilated man, we know the life and death difference that access to this kind of medical technology makes," Hawking's relatives told the Sunday Telegraph.
Compared to the traditional ventilators which require patients to be sedated and sometimes paralysed, Exovent is non-invasive and can be used on a normal ward, according to the Daily Mail.
"Once the trials are undertaken, it is a quick and easy product for manufacturers to produce; it is a fairly robust product with few moving parts, it is something that can be quickly rolled out. We are hoping that that product will be ready for us to test in patients with COVID-19 disease in about two weeks' time," Dr. Malcolm Coulthard, a paediatrician at the Newcastle hospital, said.
According to reports, 5,000 Exovent ventilators could be made per week.
The development comes as the NHS is scrambling to get foreign-made ventilators into hospitals, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying that the UK now has around 10,000 ventilators, but needs 18,000 to make sure that it can deal with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases.
The number of people who have died in UK hospitals after contracting COVID-19 has risen to 9,875 since the start of the outbreak, the UK Department of Health and Social Care said on Saturday.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the UK stands at 78,991 as of Saturday, according to a government website.