[EN] Low Cost, Intra-hospital Ventilator Designed by USFQ Wins RetoCOVID19 and Production will Begin

UBUNTU-RESPIRA is the name of USFQ’s intra-hospital ventilator which won RetoCOVID-19 in the intra-hospital transport ventilator category. The team, composed of professors, graduates, and students of mechanical engineering, medicine, and veterinary Sciences, will receive seed capital to begin production and commercialization. RetoCOVID-19 was promoted by the AEI Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how vulnerable all sectors of society are and the crucial role that investment in education, research and innovation play in the fight against Coronavirus. Given this reality, the AEI Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Innovation created RetoCOVID-19 to seek creative and effective solutions that help the country face this crisis.

A team composed of professors, researchers, graduates, and students of mechanical engineering and medicine at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ developed an intra-hospital ventilator which won in the in the intra-hospital transport ventilator category of RetoCOVID-19

“The development of UBUNTU- RESPIRA started in the year 2015 due the need for respiratory support for severely ill children and continued due to the earthquake that devastated our country. Our multidisciplinary team put forth the objective to develop a low-cost emergency ventilator, which can be used in both natural and manmade disasters. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we optimized our team,” said Michelle Grunauer, Dean of the School of Medicine of Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ who, along with Alfredo Valarezo, leads the ventilator team.

The winner of RetoCOVID-19 was selected by a panel of intensive care physicians looking for a low-cost emergency device for patients with respiratory insufficiency due to COVID-19.

The ventilator was named UBUNTU-RESPIRA by the team that created it. This name is derived from “Ubuntu”, a word in the Bantu language that reflects the traditional African concept of humanity and can be translated as “humanity towards others.”

The characteristics of UBUNTU-RESPIRA make it possible to guarantee the supply of oxygen to severely ill people who need the immediate support of a mechanical ventilator. The attributes of the ventilator allow it to transcend the pandemic, with the possibility of being extremely useful for meeting the respiratory needs of patients who require transport within a hospital or from one hospital to another. In our country, there is a deficit of transport ventilators and UBUNTU-RESPIRA could fulfill this need.

One of the purposes of RetoCOVID-19 is to offer market opportunity which satisfies the immediate health sector’s immediate need. To do this, the USFQ team will receive seed capital to improve the development of the prototype and comply with current regulations for production.

“Our UBUNTU-RESPIRA bears our desire to help. It carries the spirit of solidarity of many people who have contributed to building it. It took many hours of design, interactions, meetings, and conversations, which will have been worth it if we can help save a life. I thank all those who have contributed and continue to contribute with their knowledge, talent, and kindness. We remain focused on the goal of making UBUNTU-RESPIRA available to everyone,” said Alfredo Valarezo, Director of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ.

RetoCOVID-19 and the AEI Network have the following leading sponsors: Banco del Pacífico, Corporación La Favorita, Corporación GPF, Grupo DIFARE, Grupo Transoceánica, Tía, Roche, Fundación Crisfe.

More about the Intra-Hospital Ventilator and winner of RetoCOVID-19:

The USFQ team that developed the ventilator includes:

Michelle Grunauer- Medicine
Alfredo Valarezo – Mechanical Engineering
Lorena Bejarano – Mechanical Engineering
Luis Castellanos – Mechanical Engineering
Patricio Chiriboga – Mechanical Engineering
Diego Eguez – Mechanical Engineering

Esteban Eguez – Mechanical Engineering
Esteban Fernández – Mechanical Engineering
Marco León – Mechanical Engineering
Javier Miranda – Mechanical Engineering
Emilio Molina – Mechanical Engineering
Raúl Naranjo – Mechanical Engineering
Juan Sebastián Proaño – Mechanical Engineering
Krutskaya Yépez – Mechanical Engineering

The team that developed the protocol and experimental model:

Michelle Grunauer – Medicine
Alfredo Valarezo – Engineering
Eduardo Díaz – Veterinary Sciences
Gilberto Segnini – Veterinary Sciences

This team includes professors, researchers, and graduates of Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ. For USFQ, the involvement of its students and graduates in research and innovation is a primary focus.

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More Information: …, Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ, email@usfq.edu.ec; Sara Flores, USFQ Media Coordinator, Tel. +593 2 2971936, +593 9 95614390, sflores@usfq.edu.ec