The rate of COVID-19 spread and peak is influenced by social separation, good hygiene, and adequate quarantining of infected individuals. The goal of the CoVent-19 Challenge is to increase the capacity of hospitals to provide mechanical ventilation. Our answer will be a rapidly deployable ventilation solution that we can use to close the gap between those in need and our actual resources in settings around the world.
Founded by residents at Massachusetts General Hospital, the CoVent-19 Challenge will be a completely virtual open moonshot competition hosted on GrabCAD to develop a rapidly deployable mechanical ventilation solution.
We appreciate all of the advice and buzz that we are hearing from all parts of our global community.
How will the CoVent-19 Challenge work?
The CoVent-19 Challenge is an open innovation 8-week challenge for engineers, innovators, designers, and makers to produce rapidly deployable designs for two devices (details on devices to come).
We welcome all who are interested to create teams and join a 2-round challenge that aims to finalize device designs by June 2020.
We will support our participants with expert medical and technical panels to guide their designs.
Who should participate?
We are building a collaborative alliance of Engineers, Innovators, Designers, Makers, Manufacturers, Distributors, and Physicians.
How will our ventilator solution reach the infected people in need?
We have partnered with manufacturing and global health experts who have experience in navigating worldwide crises. Identifying distributors who have global access is crucial to our effort.
What sparked our initiative?
The first cases of COVID-19 in the United States hit close to home. We saw issues other countries were struggling with, including the inability to provide ventilators to all those in need.
Anesthesiologists carry a deep understanding of mechanical ventilation and emergency resource management. As anesthesia resident physicians leading this challenge, we felt an immediate calling.
How is your strategy different from large companies ramping up production of mechanical ventilators?
Although ramping up production will help address the deficit in mechanical ventilators around the world, the speed and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic requires urgent solutions that can be deployed globally, including in low-resource areas where standard mechanical ventilators are normally impractical.
We aim to augment our existing resources in a rapid and fluid way that enables us to expand and contract our resources to match the clinical needs around the world.
Why is mechanical ventilation so vital to surviving COVID-19?
COVID-19 can cause severe pneumonia (or lung infection). When the infection is severe, the effort of breathing increases, making it difficult to supply oxygen to vital organs. Patients may require extra breathing support from a mechanical ventilator, a machine that takes over the effort of breathing so that the lungs have time to heal.
How will augmentation of our current mechanical ventilation capacity impact the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Each country has its own projected pandemic peak, for the United States it is suspected to be in mid-June. Anticipating the unmet need for mechanical ventilation to treat infected individuals with lung infection from COVID-19 is crucial to their battle with this virus and survival.
The United States has the capacity to ventilate about 170,000 patients, while 960,000 patients are projected to require mechanical ventilators. Even with the addition of a hundred thousand more mechanical ventilators, we do not have the capacity to ventilate this many patients, forcing physicians to make the impossible decision— who receives mechanical ventilation to continue to fight COVID-19 and who will not.