The main way for treating obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) could be problematic during COVID-19, according to one small cap in the field.

The first port of call for patients with OSA, which causes a person to stop breathing periodically and snore, is a ventilator-style treatment called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

CPAP devices prevent sleep apnoea by using pressurised air to keep a person’s airway open preventing them from stopping breathing, which helps stop the snoring.

But COVID-19 has raised concern that CPAP may release the virus into the air if a patient has contracted it.

A secondary option for OSA sufferers is a mouthguard, and Oventus Medical (ASX:OVN) says its mouthguard devices put an end to the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted.

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A permanent, cultural shift

Managing director Dr Chris Hart believes says COVID-19 has resulted in a cultural shift on two fronts for the industry.

“Aerosol production of viruses will put [patients] onto oral treatments, not just for COVID-19,” he told Stockhead.

“And the other shift is towards telehealth which makes this approach conventional.”

Part of Oventus’ product suite is software that enables dentists and sleep experts to work together to treat sleep apnoea.

While the company sells devices worldwide, its main focus is the North American market.

One group Oventus is working with is the Toronto fire services. Its chief medical officer has ordered fire fighters suffering from sleep apnoea not to use CPAP machines.

Oventus shares rose 12.7 per cent this morning.