Why don’t we have enough ventilators?

The global ventilator shortage isn’t an engineering problem. It’s an economic problem.

First, why can’t the existing ventilator manufacturers just make more ventilators?

The current generation of FDA-approved ventilators are too expensive and too complex:

  • Medtronic normally makes 300 ventilators per week of its best ventilator.
  • They’re rushing to maximize production capacity, which is only 1000/week by June.
  • Each of these ventilators requires 765 unique parts and costs around $50,000.

It would take $50B and 19+ years to buy 1,000,000+ of these ventilators.

  • We can make thousands of new Model Ms, but not millions.
  • We need to save these Model Ms for the most severe ICU cases.

Second, why can’t we just make millions of simple emergency ventilators?

  • Like the $100-200 prototypes made by engineering students at MIT and Rice?

COVID patients can go from needing no ventilation to requiring maximum ventilation within hours.

  • Model As cannot track or deliver that variable range of air pressures.

So Model As will only work for the healthiest or most sedated patients.

  • When these simple ventilators fail, patients can crash in seconds, and these devices can’t adjust to handle it.
  • The only solution when a Model A fails is for a nurse or doctor to rush in and manually ventilate the patient until they’re stable.

We’ll run out of health professionals before we run out of Model A ventilators.

The 1 Million Ventilators solution will require new ventilator designs and a network of manufacturers and distributors to deliver devices that work in time to solve this global ventilator crisis.

We already have multiple prototypes in small-scale development but need your help to design and produce these devices at scale and deliver them to the people who need them most as fast as possible.

Help us get to the 1 Million Ventilators finish line faster: