Xerox plans to mass-produce disposable ventilators

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 14 Apr 2020

Xerox, known for making copiers, says it will be “rapidly scaling up” production of inexpensive, disposable ventilators that could serve as a critical stopgap for hospital-grade ventilators now in short supply amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Xerox is represented locally by Altron Bytes Document Solutions.

The US-based company confirmed to NBC News that it has a deal with Vortran Medical, a small medical device manufacturer in California, to scale up production of the Go2Vent, a low-cost resuscitation device commonly used by first responders in emergencies and disasters.

The companies aim to produce 150 000 to 200 000 devices a month by June and could produce as many as one million ventilators in the coming months.

They project making 40 000 ventilators this month alone. The Go2Vent is already FDA-approved, has been on the market for years, doesn’t require electricity and is relatively inexpensive.

Xerox plans to charge hospitals approximately $120 per unit.

“The partnership with Xerox has one clear goal – to help save as many lives as possible,” Vortran's co-founder and CEO, Gordon A Wong, MD, says in a statement. “For all of us, this will be the most important thing we ever do.”

According to Xerox, while the device is not a replacement for hospital-grade ventilators, it could help ease the pressure on states and health systems facing a crush of patients so severe that some hospitals have begun splitting ventilators to serve two patients at a time.

At least another began using 3D printing to convert BiPap machines designed to be used for those with lung disease and sleep apnea, it adds.

“It takes off the overload on the system,” so the sickest patients can go onto the ICU-grade ventilators, Naresh Shanker, Xerox’s chief technology officer, says.

Those exhibiting lower-level symptoms, whom studies show account for the majority of coronavirus patients, can significantly benefit from the Go2Vent, he notes. The devices were widely used, for instance, around the 11 September 2001 terror attacks in New York and during the SARS outbreak 17 years ago.

The deal will also give major manufacturers, including Ford Motor, the time they need to ramp up production of hospital-grade ventilators, according to Sacramento-based Vortran.

Xerox says it plans to manufacture these FDA-approved ventilators and APM-Plus devices at its facility outside of Rochester, New York, where the company was founded and maintains a large presence, while Vortran will continue to make ventilators at its current facility in Sacramento, California.

The disposable Go2Vent can be set up within minutes and discarded after use by a single patient, says Xerox, adding that it can be operated on a compressor and could provide ventilatory support for up to 30 days.

“Given the shortage of ICU-grade ventilators, medical professionals are utilising tools like this and other technology to support patients who do not yet or no longer need an ICU-level breathing device, which can be freed up for another patient,” the companies say in a statement.