Tech firm Bkav to produce ventilators

By Chau An   April 12, 2020 | 01:40 am PT
Tech firm Bkav to produce ventilators
The Medtronic Puritan Bennett 560 ventilator. Photo courtesy of Medtronic.
Vietnamese tech firm Bkav plans to make ventilators, completing the first invasive ventilator in May, says CEO Nguyen Tu Quang.

The company's decision to produce ventilators was taken after American medical device firm Medtronic earlier this month announced it would be sharing the design specifications, manuals and software code for its Puritan Bennett 560 (PB 560) ventilator for free to help boost ventilator production worldwide.

Bkav has been working with the supply chain for its Bphone brand smartphone and will mobilize over 9,000 workers and four factories in its system to start making ventilators based on Medtronic's design.

"By mid-May, we will complete making the first ventilator model so that we can apply for a mass production license from the Health Ministry," Quang said in a Facebook post.

The PB 560 model is a compact, lightweight ventilator that provides oxygen for patients and simulates breathing actions. It can be used to treat seriously ill Covid-19 patients.

Quang said that about 10 percent of Covid-19 patients need to use ventilators, but, with the number of patients worldwide topping 1.7 million, many countries across the world are suffering severe ventilator shortages.

Earlier this month, Vietnam's biggest private real estate conglomerate Vingroup had announced the signing of a license agreement with Medtronic for its PB 560 invasive ventilator, and would also be looking into producing non-invasive ventilators based on a design shared by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The group's VinFast and VinSmart factories would be used for the production of ventilators, with the first devices released early May for the ministries of Health, and Science and Technology to appraise and issue quality certificates before beginning full scale production.

Vietnam has recorded 258 Covid-19 cases so far, of whom 144 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed over 108,700 lives in 210 countries and territories.

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