Updated on June 23, 2020
Costa Rica Prepares for COVID-19 Spike With Incredible Nationally Made Ventilator
By Carol Vaughn – June 22, 2020 Costa Rica Star
Mechanical Ventilator made in Costa Rica
University of Costa Rica Launches First Mechanical Ventilator Designed and Made in Costa Rica
Doctors from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) have developed the first non-invasive ventilator for patients suffering from COVID-19. Called Fluxus Mask, the device is both a breathing machine and an isolation mask to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It was created out of a growing concern that COVID was spreading globally, and there would not be enough mechanical ventilators for the demand if the pandemic continued to explode.
Many affected countries (US, Italy, France, Brazil) have been unable to meet the growing demand for ventilators due to lack of supplies, supply chain hold-ups and cost of the equipment. A traditional ventilator can cost up to $50,000, especially if purchased on the black market, but the average cost is $10,000 per unit. The Fluxus Mask will cost $2,000.
The group of designers was comprised of Jean Carlo Segura Aparicio and Lizbeth Salazar Sanchez of the UCR School of Medicine, Olman Coronado Garcia, respiratory therapist of CAJA, and Miguel Imbach Bartol and Pablo Gonzalez Lucas, who collaborated through the private company Lucas ElectroHidraulica. This group labored for four months at a feverish pace to develop the first prototype, which has now passed all preliminary clinical tests, and awaits final authorization from the Ministry of Health.
The Fluxus Mask is unique because it does not depend on electricity to function. Many rural health clinics, and most ambulances, lack a reliable source of electricity. A second advantage is that patients are not required to be intubated, the mask is noninvasive. The isolation mask reduces the risk of viral spread to medical personnel. Finally, Fluxus Mask promises to be low cost to manufacture.
The design team chose to work with only materials able to be sourced locally, including computer printed material, and locally available filters, valves and tubes. Filters are washable and reusable. Every effort was made to design a device able to be 100% manufactured and serviced in Costa Rica. The design team sought to avoid the error of other countries who have had to rely on China for their devices and parts.
Costa Ricans are famous for being able to “MacGyver” things, to make or repair something in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand. This is how the Fluxus Mask was created, patterned after scuba gear, using a compressed air cylinder which allows patients to breathe on their own, as with scuba gear, with no electricity needed. The device is ingenious. It consists of an isolation mask, conduction valves, and bio filters.
The fundamental goal of the design team was to prevent patients from arriving at such a critical level of illness that they required intubation. Said Miguel Inbach Bartol, “Just imagine, for example, that a person suspected of having COVID-19 arrives at the clinic or EBAIS. He can be immediately masked with the Fluxus Mask, while physicians attend to him without fear of viral spread to them or other patients.”
The next step for this wonderful device is start-up funding. Any individuals or organizations interested in helping to fund this life saving project should contact Dr. Jean Carlo Segura Aparicio at 506.2511.5910, or via email at [email protected]
University of Costa Rica is to be commended for the work they are doing in the battle against COVID-19.