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Japan’s Terumo boosting production of heart-lung machines

  • April 2, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 6:10 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, April 2 (Jiji Press)–Japanese medical device supplier Terumo Corp. <4543> has started increasing the production of heart-lung machines amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, officials said Thursday.

The machines, also called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, devices, replace the functions of the heart and lungs. The devices can be used for patients with respiratory failure, which many COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms suffer.

Terumo makes far over 100 ECMO machines per year at two factories in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan. The company holds some 70 pct of the domestic market for the machines.

In late January, the company started expanding parts procurement as part of its efforts to secure a stable supply.

Asked how much the production will be increased, a public relations official said, “We want to provide as many machines as possible.”

On Thursday, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura expressed the government’s eagerness to help boost ECMO production.

The government will “consider support to increase the production of ventilators and ECMO devices and introduction of those items to medical institutions as part of an emergency economic package,”

Nishimura told reporters.

He also indicated a plan to develop a training system to quickly increase personnel who can use ECMO devices.

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