University and Health Infrastructure unveil emergency ventilator

9 September 2020
University launches "CoVida" ventilator
The University of Sydney has joined with Health Infrastructure and Vestech Medical to celebrate the success of the NSW government's Ventilator Innovation Project and unveil the completed "CoVida", an emergency ventilator.

The partnership has seen to the rapid development of a low-cost ventilator solution using modern design tools and 3D printing technology. Credit: University of Sydney

The development of the ‘CoVida’ ventilator has been led by the University of Sydney with clinicians at Westmead, Nepean and Royal North Shore hospitals and the ventilator can be rapidly manufactured in NSW.

The Ventilator Innovation Project was initiated due to the need to quickly provide back-up ventilators if required in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CoVida has provided a low-cost, life-saving ventilator solution and the project has provided unique training and career development opportunities for the next generation of students and academics within engineering and medicine.

Director of the University of Sydney Westmead Initiative, Professor Christopher Peck, said the Ventilator Innovation Project gave an opportunity for both students and academics to step up and develop a shelf-ready ventilator that could assist hospitals to quickly respond to the pandemic if and when needed.

“Working together, NSW has remained ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, and today shows what is possible when different sectors work together on the shared goal of keeping the pandemic at bay,” said Professor Peck.

“This partnership has seen to the rapid development of a low-cost ventilator solution using modern design tools and 3D printing technology.

“Our academics and students have risen to the challenge and have spent countless hours working together with industry to deliver the CoVida ventilator prototype that we see today.”

University of Sydney School of Biomedical Engineering Head, Professor Gregg Suaning who leads the technical team, said the rapid manufacture of the CoVida ventilator was made possible through the sharing of skills and the adoption of “Industry 4.0” digital industrial technology.

“This project has showcased potential opportunities in advanced manufacturing, a sector in which NSW can lead when government, higher education and industry work together utilising smart spaces like the sydneyBIONICS laboratory, University of Sydney Manufacturing Hub and the Westmead Health Precinct,” said Professor Suaning.

University of Sydney Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Biomedical) and Bachelor of  Medical Science student, Daniel Landro said he and the students involved were proud to assist the pandemic effort.

“Witnessing what was taking place in Wuhan and Lombardy was a ‘call to arms’ – we wanted to avoid the same fate as other cities in the world by contributing our skills and knowledge to developing a working ventilator,” said Mr Landro.

“Our education has prepared us for this very scenario, allowing us to dive head-first into an urgent public health issue.

"Using the technology available on campus and our digital skill set allowed the student body to develop a rapid response."

Health Infrastructure Chief Executive Rebecca Wark said partnerships and collaboration have been essential to the success of this project.

“We see our partners as an extension of our existing team, they have helped us to innovate and solve intense challenges in a very short space of time,” Ms Wark said.

“Collaboration is key to what we do at Health Infrastructure and informs the way we work.

"Bringing our industry and university partners together helps us develop creative solutions to the challenges we face, not only today with COVID-19, but into the future."

Biomedical students from the University of Sydney examined, tried and tested ventilator technology and rapidly designed an up-to-date low-cost emergency ventilator. The CoVida ventilator can be rapidly manufactured in NSW if required.

The University of Sydney’s first prototype was successfully built in April in just 17 days. Further models have been manufactured, subjected to clinical user group assessment and testing, and are now going through the regulatory approvals process.

The pre-production stage for the CoVida ventilator is nearing completion, with applications for ‘Permission to Supply’ for COVID-19 use in Australia underway with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

  • Health Infrastructure has been working with universities and industry partners to rapidly progress the NSW-based manufacture of back-up ventilator solutions, should they be required in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and potentially overseas.
  • The project began in late March 2020.
  • This project is part of the NSW Government’s previously announced $800 million to support the NSW Health System’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, including significantly increasing capacity in NSW public hospitals, particularly within ICUs.

Luisa Low

Media and Public Relations Adviser (Engineering)

Vivienne Reiner

PhD Candidate and Casual Academic

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