From the Journal: Physics of Fluids
Link to article: The novel Mechanical Ventilator Milano for the COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON, March 23, 2021 — Scientists have been working for the past year to find ways to curb the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it is outside their typical realm of study, physicists have been playing an important role in many aspects of research about the pandemic and its impact on people.
Particle physicists’ keen understanding of gas handling systems positioned them at the forefront for pioneering low-cost, mass-producible ventilators to help address the worldwide shortage. Led by Cristian Galbiati, professor of physics at Princeton University and the Gran Sasso Science Institute, an international, interdisciplinary team called the Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM) collaboration spearheaded one effort and presents the design in the journal Physics of Fluids, from AIP Publishing.
The project began in March 2020, shortly after Italy went into lockdown. Only one week later, the MVM collaboration had a working prototype.
The ventilator consists of a gas inlet valve and a gas outlet valve, along with a series of controls and alarms to ensure proper monitoring and customizability from patient to patient. The design is built from readily available parts and is presented under an open license, allowing developing countries to quickly and easily manufacture their own units.
“The idea behind the design was to have a system as simple as possible — delivery of air through a single valve, exhaust of air through a single valve,” said Galbiati.
Because the MVM is developed specifically for COVID-19 patients, it has reduced functionality compared to typical ventilators. This simpler design cuts the cost of production up to fivefold to under $10,000 per unit.
“This pandemic comes upon us, and you feel somewhat helpless as someone who isn’t a medical physicist,” said physics Nobel laureate Arthur McDonald, at Queen’s University and a co-author on the paper. “Our collaboration of particle physicists, engineers, and software specialists from national labs, academia, and industry have applied their existing talents to create a new, accessible design and to provide a new manufacturing capability internationally to address the most serious cases during the pandemic.”
“For a scientist committed to fundamental research, such as the search for the dark matter of the universe, it is extremely important to devote time and experience to build devices that can help to improve people’s health,” said Walter Bonivento, a senior scientist at INFN Cagliari and co-author on the paper.
The MVM has already received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and received Health Canada Medical Device Directorate authorization. About 6,000 units have been delivered to date under a contract from the Canadian government for its stockpile, with the potential for more, if requested. Donations from Canada to developing countries in need have also been considered from the beginning of the contract award.
More information about the project can be found on the MVM Collaboration website.
For more information:
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Australia: Curtin University. Canada: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Carleton University, McDonald Institute, Queen's University, Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Laboratory, TRIUMF: Canada's particle accelerator centre, The Mosaic Company, University of Toronto. France: Université de Paris, École Polytechnique, Sorbonne Université, MINES ParisTech, Université de Nantes. Germany: Max-Planck-Institut für Physik. Italy: AZ Pneumatica S.R.L., Azienda Ospedaliera San Gerardo, CAEN S.p.A., Dipartimento di Meccanica e Ingegneria Industriale dell'Università degli Studi di Brescia, Elemaster Group S.p.A., Ginevri S.R.L., GSSI - Gran Sasso Science Institute, ISTP – CNR, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – CNAF, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Bologna, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Cagliari, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Genova, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Milano, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Napoli, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Pisa, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Roma 1, Istituto Nazione di Fisica Nucleare – Sez. di Roma 3, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, Museo della fisica e Centro studi e Ricerche Enrico Fermi, Nuclear Instruments S.R.L., Policlinico San Pietro, Politecnico di Milano, STIIMA – CNR, Sergio Installazioni Snc, Universit`a degli Studi di Siena, Università Milano Bicocca, Università degli Studi Federico II, Università degli Studi dell'Aquila, Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Università degli Studi di Milano, Università di Pisa, Università di Roma La Sapienza. Poland: Particle Astrophysics Science and Technology Centre (AstroCeNT). Spain: Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, Laboratorio Subterráneo de Canfranc. Sweden: Chalmers | University of Gothenburg. Switzerland: CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire). USA: 12th Man Technologies, Inc., University of Illinois-Champaign, Equilbar L.L.C., Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Princeton University, Rochester University, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Houston, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. United Kingdom: Liverpool University, University of Oxford