A COVID-19 ventilator, built in Ammanford, is being trialled on patients in Bangladesh.

Carmarthenshire consultant Dr Rhys Thomas and Ammanford engineering firm Maurice Clarke built the emergency Covid-19 C-PAP device prototype.

Despite receiving regulatory approval in April a lack of patients in Wales meant the team had to look further afield to trial the machine.

Patients in a Bangladeshi hospital have taken part in the trial and have been treated with the non-invasive C-PAP.

A total of 35 devices made in the Betws firms workshops are being used in the Bangabandhu Sheik Mujib Medical University hospital in Bangladesh.

Professor AKM Aktaruzzaman from the hospital said the initial results were "very promising" and it could prove to be a "landmark trial."

The latest version of the ventilator, developed at the CR Clarke factory in Ammanford, is copper-plated and has viral filters to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

If the clinical trial is successful, developers hope to get financial backing from the United States to expand production.

Dr Thomas, a consultant anaesthetist said: "We were very lucky to get involved with the foremost hospital and university in Dhaka. The early indications from the study is that it is working very, very well."

He added that early intervention with the new device was essential: "It's absolutely crucial. The first problem with Covid-19 is lack of oxygen being delivered to the blood. C-PAP is incredibly efficient at delivering oxygen.

"What we know, as soon as levels of oxygen drop, it's so important to be able to get the patient then on a C-PAP machine. That halts the inflammatory storm.

"The problem is the drop in the level of oxygen is silent. The patient don't appreciate they have low levels. Finding those patients, before they become too sick, is the key to treating Covid-19 effectively."

Maurice Clarke, from plastics manufacturers CR Clarke, said the potential for the ventilator in treating patients with Covid-19 was huge.

"What excites me is that it can genuinely help people suffering from the virus. There is a worldwide need for something of this type.

"The fact we were one of the few to get MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) approval is quite exciting.

"One of the criteria when we were developing the product was that it needed to be easy to make with a basic number of parts that could then be manufactured anywhere in the world to help the local population."