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

The table-top size ventilator can now be manufactured for distribution.
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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.

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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."

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