ELON Musk has purchased ventilators which cannot be used to treat critically ill coronavirus patients and could actually spread the killer bug, it has been claimed
Musk today announced that he had bought over 1,000 FDA-approved machines produced by US firm ResMed in a bid to help fight the respiratory illness which has swept the world.
However, ResMed boss Mick Farrell told CNBC that the ventilators, shipped from China, were “non-invasive” BiPAP devices that use a mask over the patient’s face to supply oxygen and are commonly used to treat sleep disorders.
Severely ill patients suffering from COVID-19 require high-end “invasive” ventilation which means running a tube down their throat into their lungs to aid breathing.
Another issue with non-invasive machines, experts say, is that they allow air to escape, helping pump the virus in the air around the ward — potentially infecting medical staff and others.
“It can stay suspended and in some cases can stay up to three hours, according to the best science we have about this,” Louisiana critical care specialist Dr. Jonathan Richards told WAFB9.
“So that increases the risk of other health care providers coming into the room and it could is chance of someone else in the hospital coming infected.”
However, there are uses for Musk’s machines in the fight against coronavirus – a disease which has killed more than 5,000 in the US and infected over 216,000 Americans.
For one thing, the BiPAP devices can be used for non-COVID-19 patients, who need assistance breathing, freeing up ventilators for those critically ill with the virus.
Also, people who have less severe coronavirus symptoms can use non-invasive machines while isolating at home.
ResMed CEO Farrell praised Musk, saying: “I think it’s great what Elon did.
“He went up and bought what I would call bi-level, non-invasive ventilators from a platform of ours from 5 years ago, from Asia, and brought 1,000 of them over to New York.
“If there’s product out there and you can move that for us, that’s fantastic.”
Farrell also said the non-invasive machines can potentially be converted into higher end models — but he noted the US is suffering from a “parts problem”.
He said the invasive devices require around 500 different components which has largely contributed to the ventilator shortage in many countries.
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On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that he would supply the machines free of charge to US hospitals that need them.
He wrote: “We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. Will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla delivery regions.
“Device & shipping cost are free. Only requirement is that the vents are needed immediately for patients, not stored in a warehouse.”
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