Amid the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals and healthcare facilities are reporting shortages of vital equipment that not only keeps the patients safe, but the staffers, too.
One important device for which demand has ramped up is ventilators for patients who need assistance with their breathing due to the respiratory effects of COVID-19. Major manufacturers have increased production, while big names outside the medtech space have also attempted to help with the shortage. But doctors in Italy are already having to decide which patients get ventilators — and which do not.
While the manufacturers try to lend a hand, researchers all over have tried to find ways to combat the shortage in coronavirus-fighting equipment by constructing makeshift, DIY ventilators.
One caveat that remains is the fact that, while the FDA issued guidance on emergency use authorizations that includes allowing alternative products used as medical devices, there is no clear stance on whether homemade devices could potentially garner authorization. Some wondered whether DIY ventilators will ever be put to use. The first such device has won approval and more will look to follow in the coming days, weeks and months.
Read on to discover some of the DIY ventilator work going on at major research institutions.
MassDevice and Medical Design & Outsourcing have reached out to FDA for comment, but we have not received a response. This story originally ran in late March 2019. Updated with additional examples from universities.