Major Israeli Defense Firm to Produce Ventilators for Coronavirus Patients

Israel's Health Ministry says the country has around 3,500 ventilators, or roughly one for every 2,500 citizens

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חולה קורונה בבית חולים ליד פריז, באפריל
חולה קורונה בבית חולים ליד פריז, באפרילCredit: BENOIT TESSIER/ REUTERS

Defense firm Elbit Systems said on Monday it will manufacture thousands of automatic ventilation machines at the request of the Israeli government as the coronavirus outbreak has led to a global shortage.

Based on technology developed by LifeCan Medical, these machines will enable medical centers to provide initial care to patients suffering from less severe respiratory conditions, Elbit said.

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Production of about 300 machines per week is expected to start after the Passover holiday ends on April 15. Initially, at least, the machines will be for use in Israel.

Elbit said it has converted two manufacturing facilities into assembly lines and production will be carried out in shifts to supply many units in a short time.

Dr Karina Glick checks a medical ventilator control panel at a ward at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, March 16, 2020.Credit: AFP

According to the Health Ministry, Israel has around 3,500 ventilators, or roughly one for every 2,500 citizens.

By comparison, the United States can muster as many as 200,000 ventilators nationwide, according to a March 25 article by the Society of Critical Care Medicine - one for every 1,635 Americans.

Israeli officials have said they aimed to increase their national stockpile of ventilators to 7,000 by next month, both through local manufacturing and procurement abroad. That would bring Israel's ratio to one ventilator for every 1,245 citizens.

Elbit also said some of its businesses have begun to "experience disruptions" after the company initially said on March 25 when reporting its annual results that the pandemic had not had a material impact on its business.

"We are monitoring these businesses closely and plan to update the market in due course," Elbit said.

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