“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”~Dean Kamen
Coronavirus pandemic has infected 13,60,039 people accounting for 75,973 deaths worldwide. In this ambiance, global companies from all industries are playing their part in helping the Healthcare industry save the lives of millions of people.
Need Of The Hour: Ventilators
The most important medical equipment required now is the ventilator.
Of the COVID-19 cases occurring worldwide, about 10% of patients need ventilators.
GlobalData’s medical devices analyst Tina Deng said
“All ventilator manufacturers have full order books and hold little in stock – receiving orders not only from regular customers such as hospitals but also directly from governments.”
According to analytics companies we require about 880,000 more ventilators worldwide to manage the situation According to reports, India may end up with 2.2 million cases which would require 110,000 to 220,000 ventilators.
Reports estimate that the US needs about 75,000 ventilators, while France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK collectively require 74,000 devices to make up the gap.
What is the solution?
According to the biggest ventilator manufacturing, It’s not a final ventilating manufacturing problem but is more of a parts problem ventilator maker Mick Farrell said in an April 1 interview on CNBC.
“When we get genuine offers from automotive companies, aerospace companies, and defense companies, and we’ve had hundreds of offers, we say fantastic! Don’t make a ventilator and buy these parts. Make these 10 parts for us and let us scale, which we can, between us and our competitors, to meet the demands of COVID-19.”
Everyone across different industries is helping healthcare companies in this.
The coronavirus crisis has led billionaire Elon Musk to jump into the medical device industry.
Leading ventilator manufacturer Medtronic on 4th April confirmed that they were in talks with Tesla on how the companies could work together to boost supplies of the devices that keep COVID-19 patients breathing when the disease robs them of the ability to do so on their own
Now Tesla engineers have innovated a prototype ventilator that uses parts adapted from their electric vehicles.
Tesla posted a video on 5th April featuring a group of engineers, showing their creation built with automotive parts, rather than with the pumps, compressors, and other highly specialized components urgently required by medical device manufacturers to boost ventilator production.
Joseph Mardall, Tesla’s engineering director said that they wanted to use parts that they knew really well with reliability and are available in volume
The device shown in the video includes a touchscreen display panel that was used in Model 3 electric sedans which track the intake of oxygen and output of carbon dioxide, a Model 3 infotainment computer system, lithium-ion battery, as well as pumps, compressors, tubes, and an oxygen mixing chamber.
Since it’s a prototype, it’s not clear if Tesla will be able to produce the devices in high volume–considering that they are tested and approved for use for COVID-19 patients by USFDA.
Other automobile companies like General Motors and Ford are also teaming up with medical device companies like Ventec, GE Healthcare, and ResMed
In account of this crisis on March 31, the FDA has accelerated the approval process for coronavirus-related treatments.
Since ventilators made for patients with the most severe breathing problems are extremely complex it’s certification will take time.
Gail Baura, an engineering professor at Chicago’s Loyola University told Forbes that There are many engineering standards that are used to design these complex medical devices, and the FDA looks to make sure that companies have tested and proved conformity to these standards before they can get FDA clearance and legally sell these devices. A lot of time will be required to validate ventilators coming from these new manufacturing partnerships.
The COVID-19 outbreak is one of the biggest challenges that the Healthcare industry has ever witnessed and people across industries are coming forward to help them cater to it. Hopefully, with collective efforts, we will be able to overcome this pandemic