Fitbit, which makes wearables for exercise monitoring, will move resources in the supply chain to make emergency ventilators, Fitbit CEO James Park told CNBC. The ventilators can be used to help treat patients with COVID-19 and can help to improve the national supply of medical devices that were in need during the pandemic.
“There was a great deal of concern about ventilator shortages and we knew we already had experience across the supply chain,” Park told CNBC. According to CNBC, Fitbit plans to submit the designs for its ventilator to the Food and Drug Administration under a “in the coming days” emergency usage authorisation. An authorisation for emergency use is just what it sounds like: it requires the use of a medical device or drug that has not been previously authorised by the FDA to treat a life-threatening illness.
According to CNBC, Park aims to make the ventilators the “most advanced” emergency user ventilator available at a “lower” cost but a price has not been determined. Most fans cost thousands of dollars, and high-end ventilators can cost as much as $50,000. A number of organizations have contributed resources to the manufacture of ventilators. GM and Ford have provided some ventilator companies with fabrication space to help them produce more units. NASA created a ventilator specifically designed for COVID-19 patients; on 30 April, the ventilator obtained authorisation for emergency use, which means it will enter service.
A single-use emergency ventilator has been developed by phone accessory maker Belkin in partnership with the University of Illinois, which is being reviewed for an emergency use authorisation. And Tesla is developing a new fan that repurposes parts that are used in Tesla’s cars.