Medtronic is Partnering with FedEx to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

We live in a strange time. As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, people everywhere are doing what they can to help mitigate its effects.

Because the virus attacks the lungs, many of these deaths are as a result of respiratory failure, meaning that ventilator machines play a significant role in the treatment of the illness. Ventilators assist or replace respiratory functions, pumping oxygen into the blood for vital organs. They are the main supportive treatment for patients in the critical stage of COVID-19, for which the mortality rate is 61.5 percent.

However, due to the sudden and rapid spread of the virus, many health systems have been caught off guard and simply do not have enough ventilators to meet this unprecedented demand.

This is causing many leading medical device providers to step up the production and delivery of these lifesaving machines. Medtronic is one such company, which is going above and beyond to make sure as many people as possible can access a ventilator if they require one.

Ventilator Design Made Public

The first way Medtronic is doing its bit is by taking the innovative step of making the design specifications for its Puritan Bennett™ 560 (PB 560) ventilator public. This will allow other medical device manufacturers to evaluate additional options for the rapid manufacture of ventilators and get more of these machines to the frontlines as quickly as possible.

“Medtronic recognizes the acute need for ventilators as life-saving devices in the management of COVID-19 infections,” said Executive Vice President and President of the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group at Medtronic, Bob White. “We know this global crisis needs a global response. Over the past few weeks, we have ramped up production of our Puritan Bennett™ 980 ventilators. But we also know we can do more, and we are. By openly sharing the PB 560 design information, we hope to increase global production of ventilator solutions for the fight against COVID-19.”

There is a time to protect one’s intellectual property and there is a time to put such concerns to one side for the greater good. By making its design specifications available to everyone, Medtronic is ensuring that no stone is left unturned in the battle against this vicious illness – even if that means sacrificing some of its own revenue.

With doctors facing the unenviable task of having to choose which patients get a ventilator and which don’t, the shortage is one which needs to be addressed at all costs.

“Ventilators play a critical role in the management of patients with severe respiratory illness, such as COVID-19, who require assistance because they cannot breathe effectively,” said Medtronic in a press release. “Without ventilation support, some patients with severe respiratory disease might not survive.”

Medtronic is Partnering with FedEx

However, Medtronic isn’t just innovating to make sure ventilators get to where they are most needed, it’s also doing the same thing with many other medical devices thanks to a new partnership with FedEx.

FedEx and Medtronic have been supporting the people of Wuhan in China – where the coronavirus outbreak began – by working with related organisation to transport medical device supplies to the region. As of January 2020, FedEx had supported two shipments of critical medical devices to Wuhan and has been continuing to make deliveries of these important machines to various locations from its warehouse base in Shanghai.

The medical supplies contained within those initial FedEx shipments included Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenators (ECMO), medical ventilators, patient monitors, N95 masks, medical gloves, plastic goggles, disinfectant wipes, and antibiotics.

“FedEx Express will also ship more than 200,000 surgical masks and personal protective equipment, such as gowns and gloves, from the US to Canada to assist the humanitarian work of Direct Relief Two,” said the company in a press release. “FedEx will continue working closely with China Post, which is coordinating the movement of the supplies from Guangzhou into Wuhan, in order to deliver the relief as quickly as possible.”

With Medtronic providing the equipment and FedEx the logistics expertise, these two innovative companies are making sure the people of China have everything they require to continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. And the fight seems to be working as China has just announced its first day with zero coronavirus related deaths since January.

Final Thoughts

The worldwide shortage of ventilators is galvanising medical device companies into action to find new and more effective ways of producing these critical machines and getting them, and other medical equipment, to where they are most needed. By making its designs public and engaging in intelligent logistics partnerships, Medtronic is doing its bit for the cause.

The coronavirus outbreak is certain to be a hot topic at LogiMed Europe 2020, being held in October at the Hilton Antwerp Old Town. Please download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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