Ventilators that could save the lives of thousands of people suffering from coronavirus across the UK have been created by a doctor in Carmarthenshire - in just three days.
The device has been designed by senior consultant at Glangwili Hospital Dr Rhys Thomas with the help of an engineering company in Ammanford.
The implement, called a Covid Emergency Ventilator, has been given the go-ahead by the Welsh Government.
It is hoped that a hundred of them can be manufactured in just one day, something that could potentially save a huge number of lives.
The machine helps patients to breathe and also cleans a room of viral particles, ensuring that patients are only supplied with purified air.
It has already been used to treat a patient in Llanelli on Saturday evening who had tested positive for coronavirus. That patient is now said to be “recovering well”.
The man behind the design, consultant anaesthetist Dr Rhys Thomas, said the device would not replace ICU ventilators.
He said it would be used before patients required intensive care treatment, and, in the majority of cases, that care would not then be needed if they were treated with the ventilator first.
Dr Thomas has previous experience working in anaesthetics and resuscitation in the military and with help of a company in Ammanford and advice from doctors in Italy fighting the virus, the device came to fruition after just three days.
"I was desperately concerned about the lack of intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators to deal with the inevitable pandemic,” said Dr Thomas.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price challenged me to come up with a simpler but potentially as effective device, and put me in touch with Maurice Clarke of CR Clarke & Co – an engineering company specialising in thermoforming and plastic fabrication equipment.
It is hoped the ventilator will be able to treat Welsh patients suffering with Covid-19, and could soon then also then be sent to hospitals across the UK.
“This has been a truly amazing achievement,” said Mr Price.
“It’s fantastic that we have such brilliant expertise in Carmarthenshire to create and deliver this new device in volume at such short notice.
“I also commend the Welsh Government for its confidence in Dr Rhys’ ability by giving his life-saving device the immediate go-ahead for production. This is an outstanding example of co-operation at its best.
“It shows that Wales, as a small nation, can get things done quickly as we face the biggest challenge of our generation.”