IChemE SIG calls on members for supply support in response to coronavirus

Article by Amanda Jasi

ICHEME’s Pharma Special Interest Group (SIG) has called for members to come forward and help supply ventilators and ventilator components following a request from the UK Government.

This is as part of government efforts to fill a shortage of vital equipment to help treat patients made severely ill by coronavirus.

It is seeking suppliers able to design, manufacture, and supply a range of components, such as air compressors, pumps, valves, sensors, and industrial automation components. Additionally, they are looking for those that can provide medical training or logistical capabilities.

Interested parties can find further details, as well as information about getting in touch at the Government’s webpage.

Adrian La Porta, Chair of IChemE’s Pharma Special Interest Group, said the group is working with  the Biochemical Engineering SIG, and IChemE to offer services around vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing. He said they are drafting a letter to offer the voluntary services of the committees, and volunteer members.

La Porta said: “Our members include senior representatives in chemical engineering and biochemical engineering involved in pharmaceutical manufacturing, including vaccines. We think we can access that skill set to try and help with the rapid deployment of any vaccines, diagnostics, or other pharmaceuticals that could help in combatting the COVID-19 emergency.”

Following the UK’s call, it was reported that three UK consortia – led by Meggitt, Nissan, and McLaren – are working to rapidly develop a new medical ventilator to help fill the shortage. According to the Financial Times, the aim is to develop a basic prototype by next week, with manufacturing expected within the month. The target is to manufacture 5,000 ventilators as soon as possible, and eventually a further 30,000.

Furthermore, GE Healthcare, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medical technology and equipment, is hiring workers and increasing its manufacturing capacity of equipment including ventilators.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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