COVID-19's main cause of death is acute respiratory distress syndrome, in which the lungs cannot provide the body with sufficient oxygen. The treatment is to place these patients on a mechanical ventilator that presses oxygen or medical air into the lungs.
But as infections spread like wildfires, the number of people requiring mechanical ventilation has skyrocketed. A theme that often arises in a country's healthcare system is the shortage of ventilator. This leads to a heartbreaking story, where doctors are forced to decide who receives treatment and who does not.
As a result, governments around the world are eager to find a way to make ventilators quickly, cheaply and reliably. Earlier this week, for example, the British government began asking high-tech engineering companies to convert their resources to manufacturing ventilators. It even lists detailed, minimal requirements for these devices.
But what to do? Designing a machine from scratch, prototyping and testing, and hoping it will work reliably is not easy. Minimal of vital equipment like ventilator.
Cristiano Galbiati, who entered Princeton University and a team of colleagues across the Americas and Europe, published the design of the mechanical ventilator, which they completed at the lowest cost in just a few days Prototype manufacturing. This machine is designed for mass production and is specifically designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team's design is based on an old and reliable machine called a Manley ventilator, originally developed by anesthesiologist Roger Manley in the 1950s. His main insight is to use the gas pressure generated by the anesthesia machine to help patients breathe. Therefore, his machine is completely gasoline driven. Later, engineers introduced various sensors and actuators to control and monitor what happened. But the design is still very simple, and only requires power and gas supply.
Galbiati and colleagues say the main difference between them and the Manley machine is that they use electronic pneumatic valves that can be controlled by a computer instead of mechanical switches. This, they said, simplifies the shift to mass production.
The ventilator consists of oxygen or medical air under pressure; a flow meter for measuring gas flow; a pair of pneumatic valves to control the flow, and a pressure sensor and a microcontroller to control the valve.
In addition, the machine uses the weight of a row of water in a simple device called a vent valve to maintain a specific gas pressure in and out of the lungs. Finally, a device called a spirometer measures the amount of gas the lungs expel with each breath to monitor breathing patterns.
The ventilator can also operate in an assist mode, in which the breathing machine senses pressure changes associated with the first phase of the patient's breathing and then kicks out of bed to help.
That's it. The machine is called a Milan mechanical fan, and all its components are readily available. "The total cost of the component is a few hundred euros," the team said. They even ensured that it met the requirements of the UK as much as possible.
Design and prototyping have always been heroes. They said: "The first functional test was performed on Friday, March 20, 2020." "The first prototypes started on Saturday, March 21, 2020, and the first prototypes started on March 2020. Starts Monday, the 23rd. "
This vital work could have a huge impact on how countries respond to this pandemic. It is not the only design developed for a pandemic, but the fact that it is supported by a team of international experts is a much-needed credibility.
However, important and important steps need to be taken before testing the machine, improving it if necessary, and before manufacturing. collective.
No time can be wasted, and life is at stake.
Reference: arxiv.org/abs/2003.10405 : Milan Mechanical Ventilator [MVM]: A novel mechanical ventilator designed for mass production in response to the COVID-19 pandemic