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Medtronic ramps up ventilator production amid coronavirus pandemic

Medtronic PLC has ramped up its production of ventilators as hospitals treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, face a spike in demand and shortages of the device.

Dublin-based Medtronic expects to manufacture more than 400 ventilators per week by the end of April. It plans to increase ventilator production to more than 700 per week by the end of May and more than 1,000 per week by the end of June — a fivefold increase compared with pre-pandemic levels.

The healthcare-equipment maker said the production ramp-up is expected to generate over 25,000 ventilators across all platforms over the next six months.

Medtronic's Puritan Bennett 560, or PB560, ventilator has been given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has eased up restrictions on ventilator use for coronavirus treatment.

The company expects the PB560 ventilator will be available in the U.S. in May. The device's average selling price is under $10,000.

Medtronic also stated that it will enable its Puritan Bennett 980 ventilator's remote management capability — currently in limited market release — to other U.S. customers later in April, if the feature is well received. The feature allows clinicians to adjust ventilator settings outside of the intensive care unit.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter here, and read our latest coverage on the crisis here.

Also, Medtronic is partnering with Foxconn Technology Group, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., to design and develop ventilators. The oxygen-pumping machines will be manufactured at Foxconn's facility in Wisconsin.

Aside from Foxconn, Medtronic is also working with other open-source manufacturers such as Baylis Medical Company Inc. and Vingroup JSC to ramp up ventilator production.