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Denel, CSIR, Armscor, Eskom join forces to produce COVID-19 ventilator

There’s a desperate need for more of these medical devices globally as a result of COVID-19 patients with respiratory difficulty requiring critical care in hospital.

A ventilator. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - State arms manufacturer Denel has joined efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s health system.

The company is leading a project that will see engineers design and produce a prototype of a local mechanical ventilator.

There’s a desperate need for more of these medical devices globally as a result of COVID-19 patients with respiratory difficulty requiring critical care in hospital.

Denel’s Project Sabela will see research bodies like the CSIR join forces with Armscor, Eskom and other entities to develop medical ventilators for local use.

The defence and technology company made its resources and expertise towards the priority project available, as government’s efforts to deal with COVID-19 are escalating.

Denel CEO Danie du Toit said the company employed some of the country’s top engineers, researchers and scientists who had worked on sophisticated technology projects before.

"We are still in the early stages of the project but we are optimistic that this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators that are required in great numbers at both private and public hospitals."

The company is also looking at repurposing its Casspir, a highly versatile vehicle used extensively in conflict zones, and convert it into field ambulances.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.