Saturday, April 18, 2020

Planet Musk

The obvious thing to do when faced with a potential or actual shortage of necessary lifesaving equipment on short notice (ventilators, masks, gowns, gloves) is to contact the existing manufacturers, the ones who do it regularly and who know how to do it and who likely don't run their factories at capacity constantly, and ask them if they can make more. The supergeniuses in the UK (and, somewhat similarly, the US) spent 5 minutes on google and thought they had some better ideas and basically did everything else. Can we design a new ventilator! Can that Dyson guy make us a ventilator (in the US it was Musk)! What if we use this 60s design I found on the internet? It's easier than just increasing existing production lines!!!

That was March 14 and the genesis of a project designed as a showcase for British innovation and self-reliance, likened to the production of Spitfire fighter aircraft in the second world war.

But what emerged was a procurement programme insiders say was plagued by disjointed thinking that sent volunteer, non-specialist manufacturers down the wrong track, designing products clinicians and regulators so far deemed largely unsuitable for treating Covid-19 patients. 


Work on a specification for manufacturers had started on March 13. An early draft seen by the FT included a link to a YouTube video. It was a tutorial on the Manley Blease “pneumatically-powered” ventilator first designed in 1961 but which, as the narrator concludes, has been “consigned to the history books”.


Among the contenders singled out after presentations to the MHRA on March 27 were two consortiums: BlueSky, which partnered the Red Bull and Renault Formula 1 motor racing teams, and OxVent, an Oxford university venture with Smith & Nephew. 

Other projects included a collaboration between Dyson and Cambridge-based medical technology consultancy TTP. It faced a setback after being told that more sophisticated devices were needed rather than the initially requested mobile field ventilators, according to a person aware of the matter.
We can't separate the marks from the con men anymore because they're all fucking idiots.