Shortages are dogging the fight against the coronavirus. At Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) it's still only possible to test six staff for the virus per day, consultants have been making their own personal protective equipment, and there's an urgent need to save oxygen.
Searching for ways round the problem, Dr Tom has been working with Leeds University on a 3D-printed valve that could be attached to the hospital's ventilators to reduce the amount of oxygen they use.
But he also began looking at CPAP machines used to treat sleep apnoea at home. These maintain air at a continuous pressure, inside a mask, to keep the user's airways open - they have to be repurposed to provide oxygen for use in the hospital, but they use much less of it than standard hospital ventilators.
They said, 'Yes we've got 2,000, how many do you want?''' he says. "And so our plan is to start with 100 and to see whether, if we use these early enough during a patient's stay, we can prevent people deteriorating and needing to go on to the more complex ventilators, and needing to come to the intensive care unit."
We've been testing them over the weekend, and there's evidence from China and from the US that they seem effective. They just help inflate your lungs and that seems to be beneficial.
They are also very simple, which means that there's no need for a huge amount of training.
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Source: BBC News, 7 April 2020