Repurposing factories with robotics in the face of COVID-19

Malik, Ali Ahmad and Masood, Tariq and Kousar, Rehana (2020) Repurposing factories with robotics in the face of COVID-19. Science Robotics, 5 (43). abc2782. ISSN 2470-9476

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    COVID-19 has affected more than 4.5 million people (confirmed cases) with 307,565 confirmed casualties by 17 May 2020 [1]. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that one in every six COVID-19 patients will need artificial breathing support through medical ventilators in intensive care units (ICUs). At the start of the pandemic there were 62,188 ventilating machines available in USA [2], this accounts to one ventilator for every 31 patients requiring ventilation support [3]. The EU average of available ICUs was 11.5 for every 100,000 population while this average was 3.7, 3.6 and 2.5 for India, Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively - the three most populated countries in South Asia comprising nearly one quarter of the global population [4]. Crucially, not all ICUs are equipped with mechanical ventilators. The situation is worse in Africa where 10 countries have no ventilators at all, while the WHO estimates that there are fewer than 2,000 working ventilators to serve 41 African countries [5].