Victoria company helps lead production of ventilators: Trudeau
VICTORIA -- Victoria’s StarFish Medical is among several companies leading the charge to produce Canadian medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau said in an address to the nation Tuesday that up to 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators would be produced by multiple companies, including Starfish Medical.
“We’re working with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and a group led by StarFish Medical to produce up to 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators,” said Trudeau.
“These purchases will help us increase our capacity to make sure these lifesaving machines will be made at home.”
Normally, StarFish operates as a medical device design service, with offices in Victoria and Toronto. Now, during the pandemic, StarFish Medical is helping lead a group of companies across the country to design and produce ventilators.
StarFish is helping to develop a cost-efficient, safe and open-source ventilator design for companies to produce. The company will also help connect manufacturers with suppliers to speed up production of the ventilator designs.
“Also, like many of you, we have been figuring out how to meaningfully aid the COVID situation,” said Scott Phillips, CEO and president of StarFish Medical in a statement on the company’s website.
“We are actively and rapidly working on addressing the potential ventilator shortage. In addition, our Bio Services group is involved in COVID assay technology,” he said.
Trudeau said that it was prudent to be prepared but hoped that the 30,000 new ventilators would not be needed in Canada during the global health crisis.
“We certainly hope that we won’t be needing those ventilators but we also know that there are other countries across the world where they are not able to tool up local production to create more ventilators and they are going to be reliant on a global supply that is already stretched thin,” he said.
“If we end up making more ventilators than we need because Canadians continue to stay physical distancing, continue to follow best health advice, that will be great news and we will have ventilators to share with other countries facing more difficult circumstances.”
“For us doing more right now, doing quicker right now, is really the only option.”
On March 31, the federal government announced $2 billion in funding to support testing and purchasing of ventilators and protective personal equipment in Canada.
Meanwhile, Vancouver Island volunteers and businesses have been working to provide health-care workers with equipment, including 3D printed face shields, sanitizer and scrub caps for nurses.