Belkin moves toward manufacture of Illinois RapidVent design
Global consumer electronics leader Belkin has announced its collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Grainger College of Engineering for the design of the FlexVentTM Gas-Operated Ventilator (“FlexVent”) and Belkin’s production of the FlexVent, pending the review and approval of its Emergency Use Authorization application by Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This emergency ventilator is based on the Illinois RapidVent concept, which was published by the University of Illinois in March 2020.
This collaboration was started in response to the ongoing demand for additional, critical respiratory care supplies worldwide during the COVID-19 crisis. As proposed to FDA, the FlexVent will be used as a single-use, emergency ventilator that can provide constant-flow, pressure-cycled ventilation automatically to patients in respiratory distress.
“This is one of the most urgent humanitarian crises we have experienced in our lifetimes and the number one responsibility for each of us in this moment is the care and compassion for others in need,” said Chet Pipkin, CEO and founder of Belkin. “Our merger with Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) in 2018 gave us access to the most powerful and capable manufacturing assets in the world and its long-term strategy to create new end markets in automotive, industrial and medical systems industries. We had to take action now where we could. With a global pandemic underway, we quickly realigned our assets to serve the healthcare community, and we were able to adapt to identify one of the most pressing needs facing the healthcare community: ventilators.”
Belkin obtained a license to the Illinois RapidVent design from the University of Illinois. Team members from University of Illinois and Carle Health, which is a leading health care system based in Illinois, offered invaluable feedback on the product design, manufacturability, training for physicians, and potential clinical scenarios where the FlexVent may be needed to help COVID-19 patients when other FDA-cleared or approved conventional/standard full-featured ventilators are unavailable.
“The University of Illinois and its partners developed an emergency ventilator concept as we saw the need for these devices grow exponentially,” said William King, a professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering in The Grainger College of Engineering who led the project. “We were driven by the desire to help the world and make a meaningful impact on the COVID crisis, and we’re proud to work with Belkin to have that impact.”
“In healthcare we must do everything we can to meet our patients needs now and in the future. That’s never been more true than it is right now,” said Charles Dennis, MD, Carle Health Chief Medical Officer. “When we looked at what was necessary not only for our health system, but for hospitals throughout the U.S., we knew we needed to seek out innovative options. Pairing physicians and engineers made this emergency ventilator a possibility.”