Virgin Orbit said it will start making breathing devices to help treat people afflicted with novel coronavirus
- Virgin Orbit will begin making breathing devices to treat coronavirus
- The devices will automate ambulatory bags to deliver oxygen to patients
- They could be an alternative to ventilators and free them up for the critically ill
- Virgin Orbit hopes that the machines will be fast-tracked by the FDA
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Virgin Orbit is turning its expertise to medical devices designed to help treat people afflicted with the novel coronavirus and solve an ongoing ventilator shortage.
The device will be slightly different than a normal ventilator and uses automated ambulatory bags to pump oxygen to patients.
The company hopes that it will free up ventilators, which are larger and more complex machines that must be inserted into a patient’s windpipe, by automating manual ambulatory bags that must usually be pumped by a person.
The machines (pictured) will be able to automate ambulatory bags and deliver oxygen to patients who need it. They hope to free up ventilators for the critically ill
Ventilators have been in short supply across the US as the numbers of people confirmed to have COVID-19 continue to rise.
‘[It is] a very, very simple and robust design that we can get out to the people who are in the most need, and the hospitals that are in the most need, of devices like these very, very quickly,’ Virgin Orbit’s ventilator project leader, Kevin Zagorsk told CNBC.
The device is reportedly being made from materials and tools that Virgin Orbit already had in its California facility.
The device is being developed in tandem with the Bridge Ventilator Consortium, which includes researchers at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Texas, Austin and is seeking a fast-tracked FDA approval.
In the US, confirmed cases have climbed to nearly 153,000 while deaths due to the virus reached 2,787 on Monday.
General Motors, Ford and Tesla say they are prepared to help manufacture ventilators as the US faces a critical shortage amid the coronavirus outbreak. A worker is shown assembling a ventilator amid a an increase in demand due to the deadly infection
According to CNBC, Virgin Orbit says that it hopes it will have approval from the FDA within a matter of days and said it has the capacity to make thousands of the machines per week.
Virgin Orbit will join the likes of fellow manufacturers like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Tesla.
While SpaceX has started to make its own face shields and hand sanitizer and donate them to hospitals in California, Tesla has said that it will make ventilators in the event that there’s a critical shortage.
Likewise, General Motors and Ford say they are prepared to help manufacture ventilators as the US faces shortages.
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