Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Matthew Hudson
Doctors at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge are testing a new kind of ventilator which can be used safely on two patients at the same time.
The device has been developed by engineers at the University of Cambridge and is still at the trial stage.
But it's hoped it could eventually halve the number of ventilators needed during another pandemic.
Volunteers from the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) at the University of Cambridge began working on the project after doctors at Royal Papworth raised concerns about the possible need for more ventilators.
The engineers have now successfully shown it is possible to split the air flow from one ventilator to mechanically support the breathing of two sedated patients with different lung capacity and changing breathing needs.
Although ventilator demand in the UK has reduced, this system could be adapted toprovide emergency support if there is a second wave of the pandemic, or to hospitals in other countries.
The system was designed to use parts that are already available in the UK and are easy to change and replace.
When all the tests on the device have been completed, the specifications will be made freely available for countries across the world to use.