Considering there are only about 160,000 ventilators in U.S. hospitals, and there are already over 144,000 cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) as of press time, the country will soon feel the shortage of these life-saving devices as doctors make decisions about who gets a breathing machine and who doesn't. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the U.S. to have a ventilator shortage on the order of 300,000 to 700,000 units.
Now, volunteer engineers, physicians, and computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have a potential solution that should only cost about $400 to $500 in parts to produce. MIT plans to make these designs available online for free to help companies around the world shift to ventilator production.
Now, the new team is rapidly expanding that work to create a real-life ventilator solution. The design makes use of an unlikely hero: the Ambu resuscitation bags commonly found in hospitals. Emergency technicians or medical professionals hand-operate these bags to create airflow to the lungs until a ventilator becomes available. A tube is inserted into the person's throat, while the trained professional squeezes and releases the flexible pouch.
On Monday, Ford said that it would make 50,000 ventilators over 100-day period, starting April 20, to meet critical demand driven by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Ford has partnered with GE Healthcare to produce a simplified type of ventilator, GE/Airon Model A-E. It operates using air pressure and doesn't require electricity. The ventilator design has been FDA-approved since 2004 and sells for $7,000. GE Healthcare intends to license the device and secure its approval for manufacture by Ford, and ther automaker will serve as a contract manufacturer.
Ford said it would make the ventilators at its Rawsonville Components Plant in Michigan. It could ramp up production to 30,000 units per month, as needed.
A Spanish team has rapidly designed an emergency-use ventilator out of 3D-printed parts. It hopes the device will soon be approved to help the country's coronavirus patients.
Ventec Life Systems and GM Partner to Mass Produce Critical Care Ventilators in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
Ventec Life Systems announced today General Motors will build VOCSN critical care ventilators at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana manufacturing facility with FDA-cleared ventilators scheduled to ship as soon as next month. GM will also begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at its Warren, Michigan manufacturing facility. Production will begin next week and within two weeks ramp up to 50,000 masks per day, with the potential to increase to 100,000 per day.
A group of Spanish innovators is attempting to alleviate the Covid-19 ventilator crisis by developing an ultra-simple machine that uses a car windscreen-wiper motor to turn a manual resuscitation bag into automated breathing aid. The first devices could be made available to Spanish hospitals within days, with car manufacturer Seat standing by to start producing them in volume, as soon as they have passed initial safety tests.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday that the company’s factory in Buffalo, New York will open “as soon as humanly possible” to produce ventilators that are in short supply due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has ordered 10,000 ventilators from Dyson to help deal with the coronavirus crisis. The firm, headed by British inventor Sir James Dyson, said it had designed a new type of ventilator in response to a call on behalf of the NHS. The order is still subject to the devices passing stringent medical tests but that is expected to happen quickly. Dyson has had hundreds of engineers working round the clock to design the ventilators from scratch.
A group of MIT engineers has now designed and submitted to the FDA, under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), a ventilator made out of a bag valve mask (aka Ambu-Bags) and readily available electronics, actuators, and motors. Bag valve masks are themselves found near every hospital bed in case emergency oxygenation is necessary, so they should be in sufficient supply already.
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