Tuesday, 05 May 2020 22:47

University of Sydney, NSW Health collaborate on ventilator build to fight COVID-19 Featured

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University of Sydney developed ventilator University of Sydney developed ventilator

A multidisciplinary team of academics and students from the University of Sydney has collaborated with NSW Health Infrastructure to produce a "simple, low cost ventilator solution" to assist the COVID-19 effort.  

The University says the ventilators have been developed to provide NSW with additional ventilator capacity if required as part of the COVID-19 response. 

The “CoVida” ventilator is based on proven ventilator technology with an updated control system, with university students and academics helping to create the first prototype using modern design tools and 3-D printing in a matter of weeks.

The team, led by the Head of School of Biomedical Engineering, Professor Gregg Suaning, comprises academics and students from the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Medicine and the School of Architecture, Design and Planning.

Professor Suaning said the University of Sydney, in collaboration with NSW Health Infrastructure, embarked on a project to build the “CoVida FC100” to address the urgent issue of providing additional ventilator capacity. 

“This initiative aims to deliver a ‘shelf-ready’ solution that can be rapidly-manufactured if required for front-line use in the fight against COVID-19,” Professor Suaning said.

“Our team has engineered the system based on a trusted Australian design that was commonplace in the healthcare system in the 1990s. We have used rapid prototyping technologies, including 3D-printing to produce the first prototype devices, which we hope will offer renewed hope of addressing the potential strains on our healthcare system,” Professor Suaning said.

Professor Christopher Peck from the Faculty of Medicine and Health has been linking project collaborators within and outside the University.

“We are working hard with Health Infrastructure to develop an innovative ventilator solution which could be manufactured quickly should additional ventilator capacity be required for COVID-19 patient care.”

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence said the rapid and collaborative response of the University’s academics and students, government and industry partners showed what was possible when focusing on responses to pressing problems. 

“Using people power and the ingenuity of our academics and students, we have drawn on our collaborative Westmead model to get this cost-effective, straightforward and robust ventilator solution ready,” said Dr Spence

“It’s not the usual route for R&D but it’s clearly outcomes-focused and could, we believe, be a model in how to make an impact on the big issues.”

Health Infrastructure Chief Executive Rebecca Wark acknowledged the response from the higher education sector, which has seen the prototype ventilators designed, built and tested over the last few weeks.

“These partnerships have led to true innovation in finding creative solutions to a complex, real-world problem and may support industry, the NSW economy and ensure people are employed during this challenging time,” Wark said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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