FDA has issued multiple emergency use authorizations, loosened regulations for telemedicine, and eased the requirements for production of diagnostic tests, ventilators, masks, and more — all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The need to do everything possible to battle the virus has led to open-source designs, shared design specifications, and unprecedented collaboration with each other and these other industries — all in the spirit of more quickly and expeditiously developing life-saving products to diagnose and treat patients — often putting patients before profits.

The pandemic has also introduced a new wave of “outsiders” manufacturing everything from face shields to ventilators. These companies — ranging from automotive and aerospace to mattress makers and drone manufacturers — have teamed up with medical device companies, research institutions, and supplier companies to help get necessary products to market.

Moreover, the pandemic has led to a race against the clock to develop new vaccines and new products to protect patients. Just a few examples include:

  • Polyrizon developed a biogel designed to safely prevent allergens and virus intrusion through the upper airways and eye cavities.

  • Fermilab, Brookhaven, and other national labs are simulating how viral proteins fold to help scientists design better therapeutics.

  • Two COVID-19 inactivated vaccines have been approved for a phase I and II combined clinical trial by China’s National Medical Products Administration.

  • Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics developed a new collection approach that utilizes saliva as the primary test biomaterial for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

  • Philips introduced a new versatile and easy-to-use ventilator, designed for large scale production.

  • An app called Coughvid, developed by EPFL’s Embedded Systems Laboratory (ESL), can record your cough on a smartphone and find out whether you might have COVID-19.

  • Ohio State researchers created an in-house “recipe” to make the crucial viral transport media needed for the sample-collecting swabs in a way necessary to stabilize the virus.

  • Battelle developed a system to decontaminate N95 respirator masks and other medical protective equipment.

There are many, many more.

And finally, these developments wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and commitment of the suppliers to the industry. They have stayed open and added staff; they have shifted production to focus on components for face masks and ventilators or to build the machines needed to make the devices.

Unlike healthcare and food service workers, the people behind all of these developments are not often singled out in the fight against this pandemic. To them I humbly say, “Thank you.”

Sherrie Trigg

Editor and Director of Medical Content

To learn about more developments, go here.


Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2020 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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