New lungs ventilator to assist COVID-19 patients in many developing countries, another sign of the world's reply to the virus

The world sticks together in response to COVID. His name is Diego and he is the first lung ventilator that, during the COVID-19, was designed to be exported to developing countries.

The project of a new lungs ventilator, carried out by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in collaboration with the University of Ferrara, was thought to help people who cannot have access to adequate health care in contexts where treatment is not guaranteed to everyone.


The fight against COVID, the low-cost lungs ventilator

Luciano Fadiga, professor at the University of Ferrara and director of the Translational Neurophysiology Centre at IIT explains, “Diego ventilator was designed with the idea of giving assisted lung ventilation cheaper as possible and to provide it anywhere in the world. Anyone who has a drill and a small workshop is able to realize it: it has an automotive engine, like a windscreen wiper, available everywhere. The project’s sketches have been made open-source on the IIT website”. Each respirator costs around 250 euros, comparable to the price of a mid-range smartphone.

Its name, Diego, stands for “Device for Inspiration and Expiration, Gravity Operated”. Thanks to a mechanism based on the exploitation of the force of gravity, the ventilator works without the use of electronics, using a common Ambu type respirator balloon. It can also run on battery or solar power, which makes it usable even without electricity.


Lung ventilator for COVID patient: Rimini and Ferrara united by a project

“The ventilator has already been produced in pre-series by the SCM Group company in Rimini and tested to ventilate some patients in the surgery department of the hospital in Ferrara- says Fadiga- now we are studying new ways to distribute it to hospitals in various countries around the world, all without profit.

We have already been contacted by many associations and NGOs operating in Africa, Syria and even Mexico. After having notified it to the Italian Ministry of Health, we are following the procedure to mark it Ce, a further guarantee mark”.

Behind the project there is a team of about twenty professionals: during the COVID emergency, observing the situation of the hospitals of Bergamo, Codogno and Vo’ we realized that the national health system was at the limit of tolerance.

The researchers from IIT and the University of Ferrara, therefore, thought about what could have happened in poor countries in finding medical devices and looked for a solution: they got together, each with their own skills, and in less than two weeks they reached the first prototype.

Mr Fadiga concludes, “we did everything as volunteers, we wanted to give our contribution to the emergency. Even if now in Italy the worst seems to be over, we must not forget what we went through. If at this moment someone in the world is experiencing similar situations, we have the duty to help him”.


New lungs ventilator to assist COVID-19 patients – READ THE ITALIAN ARTICLE



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University of Ferrara

Italian Technology Institute




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