UK scientists to produce high-performance ventilators at low cost
11 Dec 2020



The Hartree Centre is contributing expertise to a new project to develop a robust, low-cost ventilator to help patients in low and middle-income countries suffering from severe respiratory problems due to COVID-19.





UK scientists have been awarded funding to develop the ventilator because mechanical ventilation is a small but important part of the management of pandemic virus infections which affect the lungs, including:

  • SARS-CoV-1
  • SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
  • influenza

 Ventilators are typically expensive to purchase and maintain, and need considerable training to use. Most also rely on the provision of high-flow oxygen and medically pure compressed air, which are not readily available in many countries around the world.

A team of scientists, coordinated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory, aims to produce and test plans for an affordable, reliable and easy-to-operate ventilator which does not rely so heavily on compressed gases and mains electricity supply.

It is anticipated that these plans will be used by a wide variety of manufacturing groups across the world, thereby reducing the need for expensive transportation and maintenance.

As well as leadership from Daresbury Lab, teams across STFC will be working on this project, from:

  • Technology Department
  • Hartree Centre
  • ISIS Neutron and Muon Source
  • ​Business and Innovation Department (BID).​

STFC will also be working with international partners from:

  • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • CERN
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Liverpool
  • Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MDTEC).

Project lead at STFC's Daresbury Laboratory, Ian Lazarus said:

"I am proud to be leading this team, in which we have brought together experts from medicine, science, engineering and knowledge transfer with a shared goal to make resilient high quality ventilators available in areas of the world which currently don't have enough of them.

We look forward to redeploying skills that normally underpin science research into this different and very necessary field, working with medical experts in both UK and Brazil. Together we hope to make a positive impact in the current fight against COVID-19 and afterwards in the treatment of other respiratory conditions in countries where ventilators are not as readily available as they are here in the UK."