UK hopes newly-made ventilators will be ready for coronavirus fight next week

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday its scramble to produce thousands of ventilators to fight the coronavirus outbreak was achieving results as top companies have already produced a prototype and it should be ready for use in hospitals by the end of next week.

British companies have formed three teams, led by aerospace engineer Meggitt (MGGT.L) and carmakers McLaren and Nissan (7201.T) to pursue the rapid production of ventilators. European giant Airbus (AIR.PA) is working across the process to provide its 3D technology and facilities.

“More than half a dozen companies have already made one in prototype, to check with us that we are happy with the quality,” health minister Matt Hancock told BBC TV.

Hancock said he hoped the new ventilators would be approved for use in hospitals by the end of next week.

“I would be surprised if it was longer than then,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable. In a matter of days some of these top engineering companies have already turned their hand to this effort and already got their prototypes out.

“We need as many as you can possibly make and we will buy them because if we end up with too many for the NHS (National Health Service) that is a great problem to have and there’s other countries round the world that needs ventilators. No number is too big.”

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