The shortage of respirators in many countries around the world is already a crisis, but it will become even more dire as the number of COVID-19 patients suffering from severe symptoms and requiring hospitalization increases.
That's why solutions multiply in these hours to obtain faster and cheaper respirators to build, or equivalent solutions. Only this morning I told you about a MIT project for an open source and low cost respirator.
Now a simple piece of hardware just FDA approved for emergency use is always available for free open source. Thanks to 3D printing it could be a key element to help multiply efforts. Quadruple them, to be precise.
Prisma Health VESper is a three-way connector that expands the use of a respirator and allows it to treat up to four patients simultaneously.
The device is designed to be used with ventilators that comply with existing standards and ISO standard respirator connectors and allows the use of filtering equipment to block any transmission of viruses and bacteria.
VESper works in pairs of devices, with one connected to the fan inlet and another connected to the return. They can also be stacked to allow the treatment of up to four patients at the same time, provided of course that patients require the same clinical treatment in terms of oxygenation, including the oxygen mixture, as well as air pressure and other factors.
The component was designed by the doctor Sarah Farris, an emergency room doctor, who shared the concept with her husband Ryan Farris, computer engineer who developed the initial prototype for 3D printing.
Devices like this, approved under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) are fully considered prototypes and the conditions of their use include the requirement to report the results of how they perform in practice.
These data contribute to the ongoing study of their effectiveness, and to the development and refinement of their design in order to maximize their safety and efficacy.