Egypt to produce prototype of first locally-manufactured Medtronic's ventilator in a week: Official

Ahmed Morsy , Wednesday 1 Apr 2020

Chairman of major state run metal industries company says the first locally-made Medtronic's ventilator will be ready for mass production in two weeks

PB 560 ventilator
Medtronic's PB 560 ventilator (photo courtesy of Medtronic)

The state-run Holding Company for Metallurgical Industries said it will produce in one week's time the first prototype of ventilators of medical device-maker Medtronic needed to fight the coronavirus, which will then be ready for mass production after another week.

Chairman Medhat Nafei said on Tuesday that the company, which comprises 15 firms, will start mass production of ventilators after the Dublin-based company Medtronic said it will publicly share the design specifications for its ventilator to allow other firms to produce them rapidly to help meet shortage caused by the new coronavirus.

In TV comments on CBC satellite channel, Nafei said the holding company has firms through which it can host the first stage of production, which includes the production of a prototype. After passing the quality tests and standards mass manufacturing will begin.

Medtronic posted on Monday specs for the basic PB 560 ventilator model “to enable participants across industries to evaluate options for rapid ventilator manufacturing to help doctors and patients dealing with COVID-19.”

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has hit over 882,00 and deaths reached more than 44,000. The fast spread of the deadly respiratory disease, which first emerged in China late last year, has led to a global shortage of critical medical supplies including ventilators and respirators.

The Egyptian company believes “it should not wait for the situation in Egypt to get worse to come up with solutions related to the production of ventilators," Nafei said.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in TV comments that 5-10 percent of the total number of the infected cases of coronavirus in Egypt need ventilators.

On Tuesday, Egypt reported 54 new coronavirus infections and five new fatalities, bringing the total to 710 cases and 46 deaths.

In addition to the intellectual rights barrier, which is no longer present with Medtronic's announcement, it is the technology that these industries depend on, Nafei noted.

"These industries need a large degree of research and development and this is also available because Egypt has agencies and bodies involved in research and development in similar fields, and it has started to communicate with us since the launch of this initiative," he said.

Since announcing the initiative to manufacture ventilators locally, Nafei said he has received numerous requests and has found teams working on the same project and "will unite these groups to begin immediate implementation.

"Currently, the most used field in the manufacture of ventilators is the automotive industry," he said, "and we have two factories in this field, including Al-Nasr Automotive Company and the Indonesian Motor Company, and Egypt also has companies working in similar devices.

"There are working groups which have already started work and they stated that they have one week to finish producing the prototype. If we assume that the quality and standard tests will end in another week, we can say that after two weeks from now we can have the first prototype ready for mass manufacture," Nafei added.

The Metallurgical Industries Holding Company was established in 1983 with a capital of EGP 3.2 billion, under the name of the Public Sector Authority for Metallurgical Industries. It has 15 subsidiary companies that continue to function and one company under liquidation and owns investment in 12 joints.

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