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PACIFIC, Mo. – A St. Louis area manufacturer is looking to get quick approval to make thousands of ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

For more than 70 years, Husky Corporation in Pacific, Missouri has produced gasoline nozzles, the things you hold when filling up your car. But now they’ve added something new and critically important to their production line – ventilators for coronavirus patients.

“I got shot in the throat and shoulder in Vietnam and lived on one of these, so it was very near and dear to me and I wanted to see if we can help with the pandemic,” said Husky Corporation president Grenville Sutcliffe.

The idea was the birthchild of Husky engineering manager Zach Holcomb, whose friend—a nurse—asked him a question.

“He posed the question of can you make something that could squeeze this bag automatically without any human interaction and so I immediately thought of the air cylinders that we use in our everyday cycle testing,” Holcomb said.

With FDA certification, Husky management believes they can rapidly produce the ventilator, which can be used promptly by hospital staff with little operator training.

“We’re working with a company out of Akron, Ohio, the Smithers Group, and that’s what they do is certify medical equipment and bring it to market,” said Brad Baker, Husky Corporation executive vice president. “We’ve reached out to some hospitals as well as politicians and looking for somebody to create some urgency some demand some pull in the market.”

Husky Corporation is welcoming input from medical officials about the design of their ventilator prototype. They’re asking you to call 636-825-7200.