Westmead pivotal in locally made lifesaving ventilators

The CoVida ventilator, led by the University of Sydney with clinicians at Westmead and Royal North Shore hospitals.

Westmead Hospital clinicians have contributed to the first locally built ventilators in NSW, which are set to roll off the production line in the coming months following a manufacturing call to arms by the NSW Government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued a call to arms five months ago appealing to businesses to pivot into producing critical medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19.

“Global supply chains were disrupted and our local universities and manufacturers stepped in and joined forces to develop prototype ventilators,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Two ventilators are on track to receive regulatory approval within weeks and, if needed, can be produced for hospitals here and potentially overseas, saving lives and boosting jobs.”

The first CoVida ventilator was built by University of Sydney engineering students in April, and has since been refined and made ready for mass production with input from doctors at Westmead Hospital.

Mr Hazzard said The Ventilator Innovation Project was part of the NSW Government’s $800 million investment to help increase services and equipment to combat COVID-19.

“Having access to a ventilator can be the difference between life and death for severe COVID cases and, sadly, we know the effects of shortages overseas,” Mr Hazzard said.

“In some of the worst-hit nations, health staff were forced to choose who got access to a ventilator; so we need a reliable local supply chain to safeguard NSW patients.”

Mr Ayres said the pandemic had inspired a wave of innovation and rapid development across the globe, and local manufacturers and universities had risen to the challenge.

“One thing history has shown us is that crises stimulate innovation and this pandemic has provided an environment for launching and testing new ideas,” Mr Ayres said.

“We congratulate the successful teams behind the CoVida ventilator, led by the University of Sydney, with clinicians at Westmead and Royal North Shore hospitals, and Ventasys, developed by AmpControl with clinicians at the John Hunter Hospital.”