Coronavirus: FDA approves low-cost ventilator designed at the University of Minnesota

The table-top size ventilator can now be manufactured for distribution.
Publish date:
Screen Shot 2020-04-15 at 10.05.24 AM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the production and use of a low-cost ventilator conceived and designed at the University of Minnesota.

Called the Coventor, the U of M says it's the "first of its kind" authorized for use under the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization during the coronavirus pandemic.

It was first conceived by a team of U of M researchers and an alumnus, with the kit designed to be used in hospitals and clinics to treat COVID-19 and other illnesses when traditional ventilators are not available.

Ventilators have become vital pieces of equipment to treat the coronavirus, boosting blood-oxygen levels in patients suffering COVID-19 complications that commonly include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress.

The table-top size Coventor has been created using an "assortment of available machinery components," with the result a "custom slider-crank mechanism" that allows medical staff to control oxygen delivery to patients.

The research team was led by Stephen Richardson, a cardiac anesthesiology fellow in the U of M Medical School and M Health Fairview, and fellow inventor Aaron Tucker, a lab supervisor at the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Funding for the program has been provided by Midwest companies Digi-Key, MGC Diagnostics and Protolabs, and New York-based Teknic, Inc. 

The U of M said on Wednesday that the Coventor's specification will be made open soure fo other manufacturers can develop their own.

"Because of its ease, simplicity and cost, we believe this concept can be scaled in many different designs,” said Tucker in a press statement.

“This allows patients who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to survive, to survive,” Richardson added. "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."

Next Up

police tape, crime scene

Two men die after being found shot in south Minneapolis

It followed a crash in the Phillips neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2021-04-11 at 10.57.19 PM

Flash bangs, tear gas used amid chaotic scenes following fatal police shooting

A crowd had gathered outside Brooklyn Center Police Department following the death of Daunte Wright.

Babatunde Aiyegbusi / Apollo Crews

Former Viking Babatunde Aiyegbusi makes a splash at WrestleMania

The former lineman was part of a big Minnesota presence at WrestleMania weekend.

Image from iOS (3)

Man shot dead by police during incident in Brooklyn Center

This story will be updated as information becomes available.


Three men airlifted to a hospital after bonfire mishap

Two others were treated for injuries at a local hospital.

Rocco Baldelli

Twins allow 8 unanswered runs to drop series to Mariners

Seattle scored eight unanswered runs to defeat the Twins 8-6.

carbon monoxide

Six hospitalized with CO poisoning in St. Paul

Children were among those requiring treatment.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Sunday, April 11

The latest figures from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Screen Shot 2021-04-11 at 10.52.04 AM

A-Rod takeover: Fans can't help but fear the worst

Could the former slugger move the Timberwolves?

Nurse Rachel Zanmiller, who's battling cancer.

After post-birth cancer diagnosis, MN nurse's family asking for help

Rachel Zanmiller has been battling leukemia since giving birth last month.

jennifer carnahan

After intense campaign, Jennifer Carnahan reelected MN GOP chair

This will be her third term leading Minnesota Republicans.

police lights

Meth, handgun and $34K in cash seized in drugs raid

Two people were arrested and two children were placed with family service.


Screen Shot 2020-04-14 at 7.29.56 AM

Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic, U of M are now offering antibody tests

Gov. Tim Walz says he wants Minnesota to ramp up its testing before it goes back to work.

coronavirus, covid-19

U of M becomes among first to trial new COVID-19 treatment

They're treating a patient with lung failure using a new FDA-approved technique.

University of minnesota sign

University of Minnesota could take $300 million hit from coronavirus

University leaders were discussing the challenges they're facing on Tuesday.

University of Minnesota

U of M considering pushing back student return to campus, in-person classes

President Joan Gabel's proposal goes before the Board of Regents Monday.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 12.52.46 PM

Watch: The video briefing on Minnesota coronavirus models

The Department of Health revealed more details of its model on Friday.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

Coronavirus: 17 more deaths in Minnesota, cases pass 2,500

The figures are updated as of 4 p.m. Monday, which is the cut-off point for Tuesday's reporting period.