Fitbit Flow COVID-19 ventilator gets fast-track regulatory approval
Fitbit has received the stamp of approval from the FDA for its Flow ventilator. The authorization was fast tracked in order to help with the fight against COVID-19.
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To remind, in a bit of a detraction from wearables Fitbit has launched a low-cost emergency ventilator called Flow. This was prompted by a shortage of conventional ventilators for use by those affected by severe cases of COVID-19. The company used its internal expertise in sensor development to come up with a product pretty quickly. Fitbit Flow’s design was inspired by the MIT E-Vent Design Toolbox and based on specifications for Rapidly Manufactured Ventilation Systems.
The San Francisco outfit says it does not have any customers lined up just yet, but that it is in talks with US state and federal agencies. The hope is to deploy the automatic resuscitator shortly to aid organizations not just in the US, but worldwide. Fitbit has the capacity to produce millions of such devices per year which should help address the shortage of ventilators in hospitals.
“COVID-19 has challenged all of us to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, and use everything at our disposal to more rapidly develop products that support patients and the health care systems caring for them,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit.
“We saw an opportunity to rally our expertise in advanced sensor development, manufacturing, and our global supply chain to address the critical and ongoing need for ventilators and help make a difference in the global fight against this virus.”
The ventilator is meant for use in conditions when a traditional commercial ventilator is not available. It is designed to be simple to use which should help reduce the strain on specialized staff employed with operating such devices. Fitbit says there are similar emergency ventilators on the market, but that none deliver all the functionality of its device at the same low price range.
The number of COVID-19 cases seems to be on the retreat so the company might be slightly late with its ventilator. However, there is a strong possibility of a second wave in a few months time in which case Fitbit Flow might prove to be very important.
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