As the number of Covid-19 patients requiring ventilators rises around the world, a group of Canterbury engineers say they’ve got a solution to help with demand.
One ventilator can only support one person, but an invention dreamt up by a group of Christchurch engineers during lockdown would see two patients fit on the one machine.
It would also have oxygen delivery tailored especially for different patient needs.
“It's a piece of cleverness so it's a clever solution to an urgent problem,” Professor Geoff Chase of University of Canterbury’s College of Engineering said.
The group is onto their fourth 3D printed prototype.
“Every time you get to use this there’s an opportunity for a patient to live who would have otherwise died.”
One New Zealand ICU specialist says the discovery could help solve a huge international problem.
“The problem is generated by the fact that we will globally run out of ventilators if covid continues exponential increase around the world,” Geoff Shaw said.
Ventilators have proven critical around the world, in keeping many in hospital with coronavirus alive.
“It is our bread and butter, it is to us what an aircraft might be to a combat fighter we can't do our job without it,” Mr Shaw said.
The concept for the invention should be ready to be shared with the world in three weeks, and instructions will be available for free online.
It will cost under $100 to produce the unit.
“I don't really want to profit on the back of a pandemic on the back of the suffering of people,” Mr Chase said.