A medical device company in Galway has designed a new system to enable two patients to be treated safely from one ventilator.

The Inspire Team, based at NUIG, is hoping the system can be replicated globally as an emergency response to ventilator shortages.

Scientists, clinicians and engineers have been collaborating intensively to develop a safe way of sharing a ventilator between two patients.

For the first time they will now be able to monitor the volume of breath going to each individual.

The  system is being made available to health services globally on galwayventshare.com and it has been designed so that it can be replicated using medically approved ventilator equipment.

The design is particularly effective for people with lung disease or respiratory illness.

The new ventilation system is very much a rapid response to life and death situations during Covid-19.

The aim is to share these findings with health professionals around the world.

Professor John Laffey, an ICU consultant at UCHG, said he welcomes the safe new technology.

"The idea of using a ventilator to ventilate the lungs of two patients is very much a last resort.

"Unfortunately, we have heard some reports of intensive care colleagues in other countries in the tragic situation of having to choose which one of two Covid-19 patients to offer ventilator support to.

"This innovation will change that decision from one of having to decide which patient to provide this life supporting technology to, to allowing one to provide ventilatory support to both patients, buying time to allow one source additional ventilators."