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Ford and GM Join War on Coronavirus, Turn to Making Ventilators

March 24 (EIRNS)—Both Ford and GM have responded to President Donald Trump’s call to help in meeting the dangerous shortage of respiratory ventilators, by forming partnership with existing companies building the ventilators, contributing their expertise in running supply chains and in mass-production techniques.

On March 22, the Food and Drug Administration issued a guidance which, according to the Ars Technica website, “dramatically loosens the agency’s normally strict oversight of ventilator technology. The new policy not only gives medical professionals broader latitude to modify existing FDA-approved ventilators, it also creates a streamlined process for complete newcomers to the ventilator market to get FDA approval.”

Also on March 22, Trump tweeted that “Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?”

GM announced a partnership with ventilator manufacturer Ventec on Friday, March 20, and this morning Ford announced its own ventilator partnership with GE Healthcare.

Ars Technica also observed that ventilators are complex machines, costing as much as $50,000 apiece, and that any malfunction or loss of power could cost lives. “So it wouldn’t be practical for any company to design and build ventilators from scratch in a few months. Instead, car companies are looking for ways to help existing vendors expand their output.”

Tesla, they report, has not yet found a partner.

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