Computer and phone accessory maker Belkin is developing an emergency ventilator in partnership with the University of Illinois to be used to treat COVID-19 patients, the two organizations announced today. Called the FlexVent, the gas-operated ventilator is a “single-use, emergency ventilator that can provide constant-flow, pressure-cycled ventilation automatically to patients in respiratory distress.”
The FlexVent is currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration. Belkin and the University of Illinois have applied for an emergency use authorization, which allows medical products that haven’t been formally approved by the FDA to be used in emergencies or to treat life-threatening conditions.
Belkin said it “realigned our assets to serve the healthcare community” so it could manufacture the device. Belkin is owned by iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, so it likely has access to considerable manufacturing resources it can use to help with the production of the ventilators.
Many companies have used their manufacturing resources to produce ventilators and personal protective equipment to help fight COVID-19. For example, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a ventilator in a month, Apple is designing and shipping face shields, and smartphone accessories maker Nomad has reprioritized its operations to make face masks and other medical supplies.