TAIPEI (CNA) — The government is to invest NT$50 million (US$1.67 million) to develop prototype ventilators for critically or acutely ill patients, Economic Affairs Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to add the money to a special relief budget to help industries and people whose livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 corovirus pandemic for the development of ventilation devices.
Domestic ventilator manufacturers have expressed interest in the project with the aim of first making 100 prototypes, Shen said.
With the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for mechanical ventilation in people who are critically ill is high, making domestic production of such devices an imminent need because most manufacturers are in Europe and the United States, according to Shen.
Taiwanese manufacturers mainly produce positive pressure ventilators for people with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, while ventilators for critically ill patients are imported.
Some representatives in the medical manufacturing industries have expressed hope that Taiwan can form a national team to produce ventilators for the treatment of critically ill patients.
The additional budget is expected to help form the national team and get domestic manufacturers to quickly get into production on a trial basis, according to Shen.