‘Desperate’ shortage of ventilators for coronavirus patients puts manufacturers on wartime footing

March 19, 2020 / By Emma Reynolds and Eoin McSweeney, CNN Business

London (CNN Business)Governments and manufacturers are adopting drastic measures to produce more ventilators as the coronavirus pandemic places unprecedented demand on the world’s hospitals.

The UK government has turned to a wartime solution, enlisting manufacturers including aerospace and engineering group Rolls-Royce and vacuum company Dyson to produce this essential equipment.

Helen Meese, vice-chair of the biomedical engineering division at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, told CNN Business there was “a major need” for ventilators, particularly as the world prepares for “quite a drought of these devices over the coming weeks” as we reach the peak of the pandemic.

The World Health Organization has urged all countries to “optimize the availability” of lung ventilation equipment, which assists or replaces breathing functions for critically ill patients, pumping oxygen into the blood to keep organs functioning. “Oxygen therapy is the major treatment intervention for patients with severe Covid-19,” the organization said.

In February, when the city of Wuhan was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, China turned to the rest of the world to help with a severe shortage. China’s industrial equipment department said it had produced more than 15,000 ventilators and was setting up “accelerated channels” to import more.

Now that the epicenter of the outbreak has shifted to Europe, the Chinese Red Cross is transporting supplies to Italy, where there have been 31,000 cases and more than 2,500 deaths. On Tuesday, Chinese state media reported that a second team had traveled to Italy with 30 pulmonary ventilators, 200,000 masks and 9 tons of other supplies.


Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a medical device sales leader with extensive clinical experience in spine and biologics and a nationwide distribution network built over the last 10+ years in the industry. He has held various leadership positions in healthcare and device including Distributor Partner, Hospital COO and Spine VP of Sales. He currently leads the commercialization strategy for OrthoSpine Partners and is a Distributor Principal at Novel Medical. Because of his unique career path, Mike has the ability to see the healthcare business from multiple perspectives making him passionate about building strategic partnerships that help reduce overall costs, drive innovation, and cultivate growth for new markets.

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