Medical device companies join fight against COVID-19


Medtronic is sharing an older version of its Puritan Bennett ventilator for free in a bid to help ramp up production of the key piece of technology in the management of respiratory illness as COVID-19 overwhelms U.S. hospitals.

The medical device company yesterday added software source code files to the already posted design specifications for the portable ventilator known as the Puritan Bennett 560 (PB560), including manufacturing fixtures, printed circuit board drawings, multiple bills of materials (BOMs) and 3D CAD (computer-aided design) files.

“We all are facing an unprecedented challenge,” the Dublin-based firm said on a registration page to access the ventilator design. “Medtronic is working around the clock to manufacture ventilators and to create new solutions for increased ventilator production.

“Medtronic publicly posted design specifications for the Puritan Bennett 560 (PB560) to allow innovators, inventors, start-ups and academic institutions to leverage their own expertise and resources to evaluate options for rapid ventilator manufacturing. Medtronic’s goal has been to release this information in phases over the course a brief period.”

The company added that it aims to provide final packages of documents for the ventilator by tomorrow (April 3).

Puritan Bennett 980 ventilator

“Medtronic recognizes the acute need for ventilators as life-saving devices in the management of COVID-19 infections,” said Bob White, executive vice president and president of the minimally invasive therapies Group at Medtronic.

“We know this global crisis needs a global response. Over the past few weeks, we have ramped up production of our Puritan Bennett 980 ventilators. But we also know we can do more, and we are.”

The Medtronic effort sits alongside moves made by other medical industry manufacturers in bids to join the fight against the pandemic.

On Friday, Abbott Laboratories announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued emergency use authorization for a point-of-care test for COVID-19 detection. The test is capable of delivering positive results in as little as five minutes, with negative results coming in 13 minutes. The test device, which runs on the company’s ID NOW platform, was being rolled out to healthcare providers this week. An increasingly ravaged Detroit is set to be the first to make use of the technology.

Robert B. Ford, president and chief operating officer of Abbott said healthcare providers would be able to perform molecular point-of-care testing outside “the traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots.”

In the wound care space, meanwhile, soft tissue repair company Aroa Biosurgery is stepping up to support clinicians and their patients who are battling to treat wounds, amid disruption to many existing U.S. facilities for wound care due to COVID-19.

Aroa vice president of commercial, Brad Adams, says the company has opened an additional pathway for its clinicians and patients to maintain access to Endoform, an extracellular matrix technology that is proven to help wounds heal faster.

“With temporary closures of some wound care centers, we will do whatever it takes to ensure that patients have access to critical wound care and soft-tissue reconstruction technology. If wounds go untreated due to the current reprioritization in the healthcare system, patients are at risk, so we have teamed up with online medical supplies company Medical Monks to ensure access for both existing and new patients to Endoform,” said Adams.


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