Welsh Firm Aims to Launch Therapy that Could Treat Covid-19 Patients
Award-winning entrepreneur Peter Webber is seeking Welsh Government support to manufacture hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers that could be used to treat COVID-19 patients.
Mr Webber, founder of Newtown-based, multi-award-winning cancer diagnosis equipment specialist CellPath Ltd, is applying for support from the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 Resilience Innovation Project to make the HBOT chambers.
The company has also entered the £20 million Innovate UK fast-track competition to develop new ways to tackle global disruption such as that caused by Covid-19.
He has set up a new company, XXO2Cell Ltd, In partnership with Mike Mills, a former operations director of a Newtown manufacturer. The company will initially be based at CellPath’s headquarters whilst securing a separate manufacturing facility in the town.
Mr Webber has already reached an agreement with an Argentine manufacturer to supply HBOT chambers within Wales and says they could be made available to the NHS within weeks. The manufacturer supplies the chamber to 35 countries worldwide.
However, with Welsh Government support, XXO2Cell Ltd is planning to make its own HBOT chambers with additional features that the company says will surpass the current product designs from China and Taiwan.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the requirement for alternative, drug free and non-invasive methods of treating individuals with severe respiratory conditions that complement existing treatments, such as ventilators and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP),”
said Mr Webber, 84, who uses a HBOT himself at home to maintain his fitness.
“Our vision is to provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) as an accepted and proven alternative therapy to assist in the recovery process and alleviate the pressure on the NHS by treating patients in a series of alternative clinics and locations.
“HBOT is an innovative and specialised oxygen treatment that enhances the body’s natural healing processes by inhalation of oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is controlled. This allows the body to absorb greater amounts of oxygen into the bloodstream.
“The extra oxygen combusts with food in the body to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is energy. By increasing the production of energy in the body, the patient is given the extra fuel to fight off ailments.
“I think that one person who would definitely benefit from the therapy to aid his recovery from COVID-19 is our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. People with and recovering from the virus need all the help they can get.
“HBOT is a non-invasive therapy that has been overlooked by the NHS and one that they could be contributing to the national effort in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and alternative medical conditions.”
He explained that a recent publication of a retrospective analysis of lung CT scans on 121 patients infected with COVID-19 in four Chinese provinces had showed progressive air space disease similar to the lung pathology in Spanish Flu victims of 1918.
There had also been reported evidence of successful treatment of a severe case of coronavirus infection in Wuhan, China. The patient was treated through the critical period with a number of daily hyperbaric treatments and eventually recovered.
If the application for Welsh Government support is successful, Mr Webber and Mr Mills plan to launch a series of new HBOT treatment facilities across Wales.
Although primarily focussed upon the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Webber said the HBOT treatment had great potential to be used to treat ailments such as stroke, dementia, neurological diseases, heart conditions and head and sports injuries.
HBOT has already been used by athletes in a number of sports, including tennis ace Novak Djokovic and footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, to aid recovery from injury. XXO2Cell Ltd plan to market HBOT to sports clubs and wellbeing centres.
To increase the market potential and eventually supply the NHS, the company will be seeking NICE approval for the HBOT treatment following extensive research and trials. Within weeks, the company aims to have established its first treatment facility in Wales.