April 17, 2020

Chilean innovators create 26 local solutions to relieve the shortage of emergency ventilators

Chilean innovators create 26 local solutions to relieve the shortage of emergency ventilators
The Science Ministry and Chile’s Economic Development Agency CORFO aim to coordinate the community of local innovators and establish uniform quality and safety standards for the emergency initiatives that universities and companies are spearheading to address a possible deficit of ventilators as COVID-19 progresses.

A total of 26 emergency mechanical ventilator prototypes have been developed by the national innovation community in an attempt to address the shortage of equipment due to COVID-19. The call for proposals is headed by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation and the Economy Ministry.

The initiatives, fostered across Chile by various teams of entrepreneurs, academic institutions, research centers, companies and the Armed Forces, have been registered on the platform “Un Respiro para Chile” (A Breather for Chile), promoted by SOFOFA Hub, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and Socialab. The objective is to provide support to the public and private sector with the challenges of technical validation and subsequent scaling up.

After visiting entrepreneurs from Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile who are working on mechanical ventilator prototypes, Science Minister Andrés Couve stated that “this articulation of the innovation community is happening in coordination with the Health Ministry, which is promoting a series of initiatives to obtain highly-complex mechanical ventilators. But we also need some emergency ventilators that could potentially help to fight this epidemic and save the lives of Chilean men and women.”

“The important thing is that we are promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. We are seeing multidisciplinary work groups who are striving to have a prototype ready very soon. But we also need to connect them with the public sector because these designs must follow guidelines and technical requirements set out by the Public Health Institute and the Chilean Society of Intensive Care Medicine. Then we need to validate them and finally obtain a certificate of emergency from the Health Ministry and Public Health Institute. This is where public coordination becomes highly relevant,” the Minister said.

CORFO Executive Vice-president Pablo Terrazas highlighted the public-private coordination to manufacture and scale up the made-in-Chile prototypes that have already been certified:  “We are connecting academia with entrepreneurs in order to manufacture in Chile a product that is of great importance right now because of the pandemic affecting the entire world. Once we have the certification required by the Health Ministry, we will be able to start scaling up the ventilator prototypes.”  

For his part, Dr. Guillermo Bugedo, professor at the PUC Department of Intensive Care Medicine, added, “there are initiatives that are quite robust, which at this time will allow us to get through the emergency situation. By next month we will have the capacity that will ensure no one will be left out of the whole stock of ventilators.”

Projects registered under “Un Respiro para Chile” 

·      SurvOxy (Survival Oxygen)

·      KeepEx

·      WAYRA

·      ASMAR and UDEC Mechanical ventilation device

·      AIRA

·      UACH Ambumatic

·      VMM

·      YX Respirator

·      AERA, Emergency ventilation equipment

·      CCTVal/UTFSM Invasive Mechanical Ventilator

·      OxygenChileUC

·      LIIT ULS Ventilator

·      ValpoEVENT

·      Jacavent

·      Iron Lungs

·      FCFM-UChile Mechanical Ventilator

·      LCH1 Respirator

·      Reconversion of hospital equipment

·      Rapid Emergency Mechanical Ventilator

·      AeroHelp

·      USACH Faculty of Engineering ventilator

·      Pneumatic Ventilator

·      Electromechanical respirator

·      Servent

·      Norte ventilators

·      VM Resilience