Texas company making low-cost ventilation helmets sees growing demand amid COVID-19 pandemic
A company based in Waxahachie, Texas, is making a promising ventilation helmet for coronavirus cases that has become in demand around the world.
Sea-Long Medical Systems Inc., which has been manufacturing hyperbaric oxygen hoods since 1985, has a spacesuit-like helmet that could help alleviate the worldwide shortage of ventilators needed by patients suffering from COVID-19.
The device consists of a transparent hood with two tubes extending from its base that can be connected to an oxygen supply. It has great potential because it could be used as a stopgap to free up ventilators for patients who are critically ill.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients who used them required ventilation 18.2 percent of the time, compared to 61.5 percent who wore oxygen masks. Helmet-wearing patients also had a better survival rate.
According to NBC News, Sea-Long is getting thousands of orders every day from hospitals in America and around the world. Doctors in Italy have found it effective in helping some patients with breathing problems.
And the Sea-Long helmet is only $162, compared to the $25,000 to $50,000 cost of a hospital-grade ventilator.
Virgin Galactic, which has been proactive on the manufacture of ventilation devices, has lent financial assistance including buying equipment, but Sea-Long is still shipping a limited number helmets per order. They've received orders from Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
"'Overwhelmed' doesn't scratch the surface," Sea-Long founder Chris Austin told NBC News.
This article originally ran on CultureMap.