Japanese makers step up output of ECMO devices

Baku, March 31, AZERTAC

Japanese companies are stepping up production of machines that support breathing and heart functions using technology known as ECMO, according to NHK WORLD-JAPAN.

It's part of preparations for a possible spike in the number of seriously ill coronavirus patients.

One of the leading makers of such machines is Tokyo-based Terumo.

It started increasing its output of ECMO devices several weeks ago at two factories in central Japan.

ECMO works by temporarily taking over the functions of the lungs and helping to pump oxygen into the blood. The device is used to treat patients who can't breathe because of severe pneumonia.

Terumo hasn't said how much it will raise output.

But it says it started securing the necessary parts in January, when the virus started spreading rapidly in China.

Japan's government is urging manufacturers to raise production of ventilators and ECMO machines.

It's considering subsidizing companies that invest in the facilities to make them.

Terumo says it's doing what it can to prepare for an increase in coronavirus cases. But it says it may be challenging to find enough specialists who are familiar with the technology.

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