Invention Breathes New Life Into Treatment

Invention Breathes New Life Into Treatment

As printed in The Daily Telegraph, Thursday 30th April 2020
By Charles Miranda

A TEAM of Australian scientists has created a groundbreaking “field ventilator” to help combat coronavirus in remote regions of Australia and overseas where hospital emergency resources are limited.

And critically they are going into production in Australia and not China meaning there are no issues with supply lines and they can be directly dispatched from here to those most in need including to allies in the Pacific with challenged healthcare systems.

A consortium of leading doctors, engineers and medical researchers had already teamed up as part of the Australian Lung Health Initiative to develop the world’s first lung function scanner.

But the coronavirus pandemic prompted the team to fast-track the development of a low-cost ventilator that does not need a hospital or ICU-trained staff to operate.

Medical tech group 4Dx founder and biomedical engineer Andreas Fouras developed the device initially as a research tool but COVID-19 and fears of a global shortage of ventilators prompted a rethink. The new product is now ready for use.

“I’m actually sincerely hoping no one uses it which is the funny thing to say about putting so much time and effort into it,” Professor Fouras said.

“But it has become clear no one could build them fast enough or cheap enough to supply in large numbers to places that are not as fortunate as the great hospitals we have in Australia.” He said there was nothing else on the market like it. The field ventilators cost $2000 as opposed to $16,000 for an ICU model.