‘Breath4life’ respirator: a response to the COVID-19 emergency developed at the UCLouvain OpenHub


In response to the potential shortage of respirators due to the coronavirus crisis, a task force made up of researchers from UCLouvain, industry and the medical world has come together around a hardly believable project: creating an artificial respirator prototype, 'Breath4life', in just 10 days.

It is no secret that the COVID-19 crisis has put the Belgian and global hospital system out of breath. Within this framework, more than 200 volunteers made up of academics, engineers, industrialists, politicians and financiers have adopted a collaborative approach to create an emergency respirator together to make up for any shortfall in the coming weeks.

Designed in less than 10 days at the UCLouvain OpenHub and already successfully tested on an artificial lung, the 'Breath4life' respirator is intended to respond to the current state of health emergency, without creating any competition in the world of research and without any commercial purpose. On this subject, Olivier Lequenne, Development Director of the Jolimont Group, says: "This avoids the financial stakes and speeds up the authorization, validation and production process. All the while respecting rigorous terms of reference, as far as possible in line with the needs of the hospital environment".

The next steps include the industrialization and implementation of production, currently centralized by Coexpair in collaboration with other companies, as well as the distribution of these new machines to hospitals as soon as possible. The success of this project has undoubtedly demonstrated that the proverb "united we stand, divided we fall" makes sense.

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