At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, severe ventilator shortages led to dire situations both in developed regions and in low-resource regions where robust and affordable ventilators were already scarce. To address this urgent need, University of Utah Health researcher Kai Kuck, PhD, and colleagues developed Pufferfish, a complete intensive care unit ventilator capable of supporting the continuum from noninvasive ventilation to full mechanical ventilation. Development focused on rapid and low-cost local manufacturability, clinical usefulness, and versatility in austere environments. Pufferfish’s design is shared under open-source licenses, empowering local groups to address community needs on their own.
This collaboration among the University of Utah, Stanford University, and Brown University expanded to include partners from Nepal, Kenya, and India. An initial version focusing on noninvasive ventilation is currently undergoing clinical testing and preparation for regulatory approval in Kenya, Nepal, and India, while an industrial partner in India is preparing for scaled production. Successful development of this ventilator has the potential to significantly improve mechanical ventilation support and expand critical care resources in austere and low-resource regions.
Utah-Stanford Ventilator (Vent4US): developing a rapidly scalable ventilator for COVID-19 patients with ARDS. Li H, Li E, Krishnamurthy D, Kolbay P, Chacin B, Hoehne S, Cybulski J, Brewer L, Petelenz T, Orr J, Sakata D, Clardy T, Kuck K, Prakash M. medRxiv. 2020 April:20070367.
See also: https://www.pez-globo.org/