General Motors has confirmed it will partner with Seattle-based Ventec Life Systems and Stopthespread.org to help get more life-saving ventilators to hospitals in an effort to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The automaker says it will aid Ventec Life Systems with purchasing, logistics and manufacturing of its respiratory devices. Ventec says it holds 40 patents on its devices.
“We are working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production of their critically important respiratory products to support our country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis.”
The idea of GM and Ford Motor Company both aiding in the production of ventilators has been circulated in recent days as the crisis unfolds in the U.S. Earlier this week President Trump invoked the 190 Defense Production Act, passed during the Korean War as a means of government requiring manufacturing companies to produce items needed in a time of war.
While invoked, there is no indication the Administration has leveraged the Defense Production Act in GM’s case. Instead, the company took it upon themselves to form the partnership with Ventec to boost ventilator production.
Reports suggest there are around 200,000 ventilator devices in the U.S. states, but depending on the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 900,000 could be needed to treat patients. States have reported difficulties in procuring ventilators already since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of the devices on a global scale.
“With GM’s help, Ventec will increase ventilator production. By tapping their expertise, GM is enabling us to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster. This partnership will help save lives,” said Chris Kiple, Ventec Life Systems CEO.
There’s no word yet on when this new partnership between GM and Ventec will begin to mobilize and actually produce ventilators.