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King’s College London Researcher Helps UK Meet Urgent Need for Ventilators

Dr. Federico Formenti and the OxVent team respond to the ventilator shortage with a design for a new, low-cost system that could be manufactured quickly.
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Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government predicted it would need 18,000 ventilators within 30 days. That’s when Dr. Federico Formenti and other experts were tasked with designing a new mechanical ventilator that could be manufactured quickly and affordably.

Working around the clock as part of the OxVent team, Dr. Formenti and his colleagues successfully developed a low-cost mechanical ventilator prototype within one week and were prepared to produce 5,000 more units per week.

While ventilator demand was not as high as expected, Dr. Formenti says having an approved design on file will enable fast, on-demand production of ventilators when the next pandemic hits.

Why not just stockpile ventilators in a warehouse until they are needed? Apart from the cost, long-term storage of ventilators may cause quality and safety issues. “Depending on the materials with which the ventilator is made and depending on storage conditions, some of the rubber components may dry out and then when we need those ventilators in 10 or 20 years, they may not function as they did when they were made,” Dr. Formenti said.

NSF is honoring leaders and innovators of the COVID-19 pandemic – including Dr. Federico Formenti and the OxVent team.

Spotlight on Leaders and Innovators in the Pandemic

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