As Spain struggles to come up with sufficient respiratory ventilators to save critically ill COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the country, the Health Ministry is putting volunteer efforts to manufacture respirators under strict quality control scrutiny to make sure the ventilators are operable when placed in intensive care hospital environments.
On Thursday, Health Minister Salvador Illa announced that the government is issuing the first contracts to two companies, Hersill and SEAT, that have passed quality control revisions and will be turning out hundreds of respirators per day in the coming weeks.
Hersill will manufacture 100 units of invasive breathing equipment under contract with the government to produce a total of 5,000 units. The other contract has been signed with auto manufacturer SEAT in collaboration with two hospitals in Catalonia for the manufacture of 300 respirators per day over the coming weeks.
Spain’s Defense Ministry announced Thursday that two Air Force planes are flying to Lübeck, Germany, to pick up a shipment of German-manufactured respirators and other medical supplies that will be brought back to Spain.
Meanwhile, the dozens of volunteer respirator design and manufacture projects launched by companies, technology innovators and university reserachers across Spain will have to stand up to quality control scrutiny.
According to sources quoted in Spanish news media, the Health Ministry’s Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) is requiring the respirators to go through trials to prove their safety and efficacy prior to authorizing their use in Spanish hospital intensive care units.
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