Wearables company Fitbit has announced intentions to manufacture emergency ventilators designed for use with COVID-19 patients. The ventilators will be made to meet demand, according to the company, which will make its ventilators available in the US and other countries. Fitbit plans to submit an Emergency Use Authorization request with the FDA to get its ventilators on the market during the pandemic.
Because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, a small percentage of patients require the use of a ventilator, which assists the patient in breathing. The use of these ventilators has, tragically, proven less than effective with severe cases of COVID-19, but they have saved lives and demand has increased drastically since March.
According to CNBC, Fitbit plans to offer the ventilators at a low cost to facilities, though it’s unclear what price point they will be sold at. Company CEO James Park told the publication that Fitbit plans for these emergency ventilators to be the most advanced of their kind offered at the low cost.
Multiple experts contributed feedback on what ‘core components’ the emergency ventilators would need to serve their purpose; the company plans to make its ventilators more sophisticated than the barebones design typically found on emergency ventilators. Ultimately, the ventilator may be somewhere in the middle between what is considered a premium ventilator and emergency use ventilators.
Fitbit doesn’t plan to become a medical devices company, however — this ventilator plan is temporary and intended to meet the needs of medical facilities where there are shortages and in anticipation of a potential second wave of the virus, which may cause a spike in demand for the ventilators. Fitbit is best know for its fitness tracking wearables.