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30th January 2020 Latest News COVID-19

New ventilators to support developing countries during COVID-19 pandemic


THRF funds testing of new cost-effective ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients.

A reliable new ventilator to treat COVID-19 patients could soon be distributed to the Pacific Islands and South East Asian countries after extensive research and testing in Adelaide.

Backed by funding from The Hospital Research Foundation, researchers at the University of Adelaide (UoA), Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) have been testing a low-cost and non-invasive ventilator, developed by Australian lung imaging technology company 4Dx.

Recognising that traditional ventilators require an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) setting and ICU trained staff, the research team with 4Dx have banded together to develop a field ventilator that is simple to operate, easy to train staff to use and can be used outside of a traditional hospital setting as a ‘lung first-aid’ piece of equipment.

This is critical given the potential shortage of hospital and ICU beds in South East Asian countries, the Pacific Islands and Africa during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Hospital Research Foundation’s $25,000 grant has supported the testing phases, with 4Dx developing the ventilator technology at their own cost and donating the intellectual property for use in the current emergency situation.

These field ventilators are cost effective (at approximately $2,000 per ventilator versus approximately $16,000 for an ICU ventilator), can be manufactured in Australia without reliance on China supply chains and importantly can be manufactured quickly.

Associate Professor David Parsons from the University of Adelaide is leading the independent testing of the ventilators.

“Our trials support the ventilator’s use in developing countries and highly vulnerable locations as a simple, capable field ventilator,” A/Prof Parsons said.

“Its simpler design can be produced quickly and cheaply, and with the ability to meet with minimum clinical requirements.”

Professor Andreas Fouras, 4Dx Founder, said the collaboration had helped leverage the technology for the health of the global community.

“This is a great example of Australian researchers banding together to provide a solution in the fight against COVID-19 and an opportunity for the Australian Government to support our Pacific Island neighbours by leveraging Australian technology, R&D and manufacturing,” Prof Fouras said.

Paul Flynn, CEO of The Hospital Research Foundation was pleased to be able to provide funding to support independent testing of the ventilators.

“We are very impressed by the potential of the ventilator to have an impact in the lives of patients in Australia and across the world,” Paul said.

“This is the fourth COVID-19 research project we have committed funds to and wish to thank our donors and ticket purchasers in the Hospital Research Home Lottery for their ongoing support.”