The Australian government has asked the carmaker Ford to help boost coronaviurs ventilators production, a report by Guardian said.
The coronavirus crisis is placing immense pressure on the global availability of ventilators, which are needed to pump oxygen into the failing lungs of critically ill patients.
Australia currently has 2,300 ventilators in intensive care units across the hospital system, has surge capacity for another 5,000 and is seeking to dramatically boost stocks.
An order for 1,000 new invasive ventilators – which place tubes down the trachea – is already in with Melbourne company ResMed, while Medtronic, Philips, GE and ResMed are also helping to produce non-invasive ventilators.
In Italy, the UK and the US, car manufacturers have offered to use their manufacturing and design expertise to boost the production of ventilators.
This week, Ford announced it would provide General Electric Healthcare, which already produces ventilators, with a “simplified design” for ventilators that would allow it to significantly boost stocks in the US. The Australian government has immediately engaged in talks with Ford Australia, and the Guardian understands the company has offered to share its design knowledge here too.
The government is also investigating whether it can convert ventilators used on animals in veterinary care. Sleep apnoea machines are also being considered for conversion, as are anaesthetic machines.
In Italy, hospitals have found themselves with ventilator shortages, forcing doctors to make heart-wrenching decisions. The New York, mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the city needed 15,000 ventilators urgently or its death toll would spike.