The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action to increase the availability of ventilators, their associated accessories and other respiratory devices to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Medical device makers can now make changes to existing products more easily, such as changes to their suppliers or materials to help address manufacturing limitations or supply shortages. Manufacturers in other sectors, such as the automobile industry, will also be more easily able to repurpose their production lines to help increase supply.

Hospitals and other healthcare providers will be able to repurpose existing machines to function as ventilators, such as repurposing ventilators normally used for transporting patients in an ambulance for long-term hospital use. The FDA has also suggested that other devices, such as those used for treating sleep apnea, should be considered.

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