The computer and phone accessory maker Belkin is working with the University of Illinois to develop an emergency ventilator to treat COVID-19 patients, the two organizations announced today. The gas-powered ventilator, known as the FlexVent, is a "disposable emergency ventilator that automatically provides pressure-controlled ventilation with constant flow to patients with breathlessness."
The FlexVent is currently being checked by the Food and Drug Administration. Belkin and the University of Illinois have applied for an emergency approval that allows medical devices that have not been officially approved by the FDA to be used in emergencies or to treat life-threatening diseases.
Belkin said it had "realigned our assets to serve the health community" so that it could manufacture the device. Belkin is owned by the iPhone maker Foxconn, and therefore likely has access to significant manufacturing resources to help manufacture the fans.
Many companies have used their production resources to manufacture ventilators and personal protective equipment to combat COVID-19. For example, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a ventilator in a month, Apple develops and ships face shields, and the smartphone accessory maker Nomad has re-prioritized its face mask and other medical device manufacturing activities.