The covid-19 pandemic revealed a major weakness in our health systems: the limited number of lung ventilators available in hospital beds. Working to alleviate this problem, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, developed a smaller and cheaper device capable of supplying hospitals in critical situations.
Named MIT Emergency Ventilator – or E-Vent, as it has been dubbed – it is a motorized device that compresses and expands an air bag to simulate the movement of breathing and direct air to the lungs.
E-Vent is subject to evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration, a federal agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Configured as “Emergency Use Authorization.”, The project is being treated as a priority by the agency and should be approved for use in a few days.
“We are currently awaiting feedback from the FDA. Ultimately, our mission is to seek FDA approval. This process takes time, on the other hand, ”said a team member to MIT News.
Interestingly, it is also unclear whether the team guarantees that it is possible to assist the breathing of a patient suffering from respiratory crises in patients with covid-19. They emphasize, on their website, that the E-Vent does not completely replace the use of a conventional pulmonary ventilator, but that it can serve to alleviate the global shortage and help patients in a less serious condition.
Before the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the project was designed to meet the demand of rural regions in developing countries. Typically, residents of these locations suffer from chronic respiratory problems, but have limited access to public or private hospitals. Being a cheap, versatile and portable alternative, the E-Vent could be purchased or distributed in campaigns.