The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the manufacturing and production of a low-cost ventilator called the "Coventor" developed by a team at the University of Minnesota. The device is the first of its kind to be authorized by the FDA to use under the Emergency Use Authorization to address the COVID-19 pandemic.


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FDA gives green light to manufacture the 'Coventor' Ventilator that costs 25x less than existing devices 

According to Stephen Richardson, a cardiac anesthesiology fellow in the medical school M Health Fairview, "Our hope is that the Coventor will be useful in those clinical settings where traditional ventilators are not available. With FDA authorization, we are closer to that happening." 

A ventilator's main job is to assist patients in increasing their blood oxygen levels in a clinical setting. These devices have become essential in the battle against COVID-19 as they are used to support patients with acute respiratory distress and pneumonia. Many hospitals around the world, however, are now experiencing a shortage of ventilators.

A University of Minnesota research team led by Richardson has now designed and manufactured the "Coventor", a cheaper alternative for medical workers to use. Financial help and in-kind support have been provided by Teknic, Protolabs, MGC Diagnostics and Digi-Key which are all Midwest companies.

Richardson, along with fellow Coventor inventor, Aaron Tucker, has been working with an interdisciplinary team. In the process, they have adapted their initial prototype from machinery components to a custom made slider-crank mechanism, which allows medical workers to control how oxygen is delivered to patients.

This desktop-sized devicedevice is compact and is cheaper to produce and distribute when compared to existing devices.

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The device's specifications will be open-sourced

Aaron Tucker, a lab supervisor at the Earl E. Brakkeb Medical Devices Center, has said that "Because of its ease, simplicity, and cost, we believe this concept can be scaled in many different designs. With FDA authorization, the design can move forward with production and distribution to health care systems. Support from design partner and manufacturer Boston Scientific and input from Medtronic has been helpful through the FDA process."

University scientists and researchers have announced that the Coventor's specification will be available to other manufacturers globally so production can begin.

"This allows patients who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to survive, to survive, The Coventor gives people a chance, and that is what this is all about. Making the ventilator as fast as possible, pushing it to people everywhere," Richardson added.

This research consists of a team from Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center, CSE, and the Medical School and has been fully funded by the  Rapid Response Grants from the Univerity of Minnesota Office of Academic Clinical Affairs. To know more about the latest and cheapest ventilator, Coventor, you can click here.

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