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The Australian Government has established a Rapid Response Group to increase domestic stocks of invasive ventilators to fight the battle against coronavirus (Covid-19).

The new Defence-led Response Group will work to upgrade non-invasive ventilators to invasive ventilators.

Additionally, to support Australia’s response to the outbreak, ways to re-purpose other suitable medical machines as invasive ventilators will be identified.

Australia Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “Increasing invasive ventilator capacity in Australian medical facilities is a priority, given the potential for access to internationally sourced ventilators to be constrained.

“Defence is able to coordinate the activities between public and private stakeholders, by harnessing Defence Science and Technology’s capabilities and facilities, and utilising existing expertise in specialist research engineering and technology development.”

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A prototype to provide a non-invasive to invasive conversion solution is being identified by the group using a fast-fail experimental approach.

The developed solution is expected to be applicable to all non-invasive ventilators used within the hospitals of the country.

Following the successful identification and testing of the prototype, the defence will produce components and consumables for the conversion kits.

The Response Group is being led by Australian Chief Defence Scientist professor Tanya Monro. The team comprises Commonwealth, State and Territory representatives and other industry and university experts.

Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said: “This group led by Professor Monro will support the extensive work that’s already been done to secure and produce more ventilators in Australia, including agreements with local manufacturers ResMed and Grey Innovation.

“We have already witnessed the power of bringing together local manufacturers and clinicians, with an agreement reached for Grey Innovation to lead a group of Aussie companies in making 2,000 invasive ventilators.”