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Mid Cap
Market Cap £1.46bn
Enterprise Value £3.25bn
Revenue £4.45bn
Position in Universe 315th / 1816

Britain turns to Dyson for 10,000 ventilators to ramp up the coronavirus fight

Thu 26th March, 2020 10:14am
* UK orders 10,000 ventilators from Dyson 
    * UK seeks 30,000 new ventilators in total
    * Separate engineering consortium awaits UK green light

    By Paul Sandle and Kate Holton
    LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Britain made an emergency order
of 10,000 ventilators designed at breakneck speed by bagless
vacuum cleaner company Dyson, the first fruits of an
industry-wide call to arms to prepare for the looming peak of
the coronavirus outbreak.
    Ahead of an expected surge of cases that could overwhelm
Britain's publicly funded health service, Prime Minister Boris
Johnson made an urgent appeal to manufacturers 10 days ago to
build ventilators to help keep patients alive.
    Billionaire founder James Dyson said he had drawn on the
company's expertise in air movement, motors, power systems,
manufacturing and supply chain to design and build an entirely
new ventilator, The CoVent, that could be deployed in this time
of "grave international crisis".
    "The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new,
sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely
short space of time," Dyson said on Wednesday evening in an
email to staff seen by Reuters. 
    "The race is now on to get it into production."
    Dyson will have to secure approval from the British medical
regulator for the device and its manufacturing process. If it
receives the green light, production could start early next
    The company revolutionised the vacuum cleaner market with
its bagless cyclonic device in the 1990s and has since gone on
to build air purifiers, hand dryers and fans from its base in
south west England and manufacturing plants in Malaysia,
Singapore and the Philippines. 
    Separately, British engineer Babcock  BAB.L  said it had
joined forces with a leading medical equipment company to design
a ventilator, while carmakers and aerospace groups are waiting
for the government to sign off on an alternative design.
    The companies, including some of the biggest names in
Formula 1 racing and aerospace such as McLaren and Airbus
 AIR.PA , are racing to boost production after the government
said it did not have enough ventilators in its armoury. 
    Britain currently has about 8,000 ventilators with another
8,000 on order to come into the health system in a week or so.
    By 0900 GMT on Wednesday some 9,529 people had tested
positive for the virus in the United Kingdom while 463 patients
had died. 
    Britain is working to acquire more testing kits to help
establish whether people have previously been infected with
coronavirus, as opposed to antigen tests which show if someone
has the virus as they are experiencing symptoms.
    Many staff within the National Health Service (NHS) have not
been tested, a major concern for health workers and a cause of
mounting criticism of the government's response. 
    Chris Whitty, the government's top medical adviser, said
testing was vitally important but a global shortage of the
materials needed was causing a supply bottleneck. 
    "Every country is wanting this new test, for a disease that
wasn't actually being tested for anywhere three months ago,"
England's chief medical officer told a Downing Street news
conference on Wednesday.
    Britain has bought 3.5 million antibody testing kits -
largely used to determine if someone has already had the virus -
and is currently making sure they work before distributing them.
    They will first be used to test health workers. 

 (Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
 ((; 0044 207 542 8560; Reuters
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