Manufacturers Looking to Pitch In on Virus FightMarch 20, 2020
As the world reels during this COVID-19 crisis, manufacturers and medical suppliers are exploring ways to help alleviate shortages of ventilators, masks and other medical items used to combat the virus.
General Motors, Ford, Airbus, Tesla, Dyson and many others are considering a ramp up in production of needed items. Governments and regulatory agencies, along with medical-device providers, are considering ways to streamline a major hurdle: the stringent regulations—numerous, comprehensive and necessary—involved in medical manufacturing.
Reads an article from CNN examining the dilemma:
“(Helen Meese, vice-chair of the biomedical engineering division at the) UK Institution of Mechanical, said such efforts marked a ‘wonderful opportunity and a wonderful idea,’ but sounded a note of caution.
“She said medical device regulation was as complex as that of aerospace engineering. ‘It's very, very precise, very rigorous. And so just being able to turn production lines manufacturing processes over is not something that can be done overnight, it will take many weeks.’
“She said that while companies had moved fast in the past 48 hours, firms that did not specialize in medical technology would take months to be able to build parts from scratch. Instead, she said, they might be able to build hand-held devices, refurbish older existing mechanical devices and make simple parts. This could allow ventilator companies to focus on the larger jobs.”