Minimalist emergency ventilator by controlled pressure for COVID-19

315/SI/2020 N.° 057250

Minimalist pressure-controlled emergency ventilator for COVID-19

Starting Date: 2020

Number of Partners: 3

Total Budget: 157K€

Severe COVID-19 is often associated with severe acute hypoxemic respiratory failure. The number of patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation has exceeded installed capacity in several countries. In many countries in Africa and South America, where the number of ventilators in healthcare systems is very low, they may need very low-cost ventilation equipment to be able to respond to pandemic peaks in their countries. The concept of a very low cost pressure controlled minimalist ventilator for COVID19 (<1000 € per unit, 25x less
than commercial ventilator), and intended only for last resort situations (lack of commercial ventilators) was developed by a team funded by the FCT, IP within the scope of the 1st Edition of the Research4COVID program, with the project “Minimalist emergency ventilator by controlled pressure for COVID-19” (project nº 096_596678305), which financed the development of a set of prototypes for two pilots, from April to the end of May 2020. Following this project, a second prototype is being developed, led by NOVA School of Science and Technology and NOVA Medical School, with new features, namely:
i) the use of a scissor valve to control the the inspiratory and expiratory cycles, that does not directly contact the inspired / expired air, and that allows air circulation only through medical grade materials, as well as easy replacement and sterilization of the ventilator components between different patients;
ii) the mixture of Air + O2 in any proportion, with changes during its operation;
iii) discrete control, instrumentation, screens, and alarm electronics.

The solution we intend to develop is that of a minimalist and easy-to-produce ventilator for COVID-19 Intensive Care to be certified by INFARMED. In addition to the technological component of the solution, the results of the project will include:
• In-depth characterization of the fan’s performance (namely in terms of pressure, flow and volume curves) under different operating conditions;
• Study of the reliability of the solution with longevity and stress tests on the system and its components;
• Production and Logistics Master Plan for easy, fast assembly, potentially distributed in different geographic locations (Portugal, Europe, Africa, Asia, etc.) with risk assessment to ensure the resilience of the solution supply in the face of possible chain disruptions logistics due to new waves of the pandemic;
• Certification of the solution with the national INFARMED authority, according to the “Procedimento Especial de Avaliação de Dispositivos Médicos no Âmbito COVID-19 – Ventiladores” of 20 April 2020.