Fitbit reportedly plans to build ventilators to help treat COVID-19 patients 

Fitbit is one of several companies that switch resources to create ventilators

Fitbit that makes wearables for fitness-tracking will shift resources in the supply chain to make emergency ventilators, Fitbit CEO James Park told CNBC. The ventilators can be used to help treat patients with COVID-19 and can help to improve the domestic supply of medical equipment that was in need during the pandemic.

“There was a lot of concern about the shortage of ventilators, and we realized we had expertise already around the supply chain,” Park told CNBC.

According to CNBC, Fitbit aims to send the prototypes for its ventilator to the Food and Drug Administration under an “in the coming days” emergency use authorization. Authorization for emergency use is just what it sounds like: it requires the use of a medical device or drug that has not been previously authorized by the FDA to treat a life-threatening illness.

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According to CNBC, Park plans to make the ventilators the “most advanced” emergency user ventilator available at a “lower” cost, but a price has not been defined. Most fans cost thousands of dollars, and high-end ventilators can cost as much as $50,000. A spokesperson for Fitbit declined to provide further information.

A variety of companies have contributed money to the production of ventilators. GM and Ford have equipped some ventilator companies with fabrication space to help them manufacture more devices. NASA developed a ventilator specifically designed for COVID-19 patients; on 30 April, the ventilator received authorization for emergency use, which means it could enter production. A single-use emergency ventilator has been developed by phone accessory maker Belkin in partnership with the University of Illinois, which is under review for an emergency use authorization. And Tesla is designing a new fan that repurposes parts used in Tesla’s automobiles.

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