Villanova teams up with Philadelphia-area hospitals to build low-cost emergency ventilators

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Villanova University is teaming up with Children’s Hospital and Geisinger Medical Center to create design plans for low-cost ventilators, and testing and validation could be done by the end of this week.

Dr. C. Nataraj, a mechanical engineering professor at Villanova, says the goal is to build an emergency ventilator.

“What we aim to build is a low-cost, anywhere between $600 and $800, which uses as few parts as possible. And the reason you want to do that is there are a lot of wrinkles in the supply chain of parts,” Nataraj explained. 

He says if parts are local and manufacturing is local, costs are lower and it helps the local economy. Nataraj says the design would easily connect with existing ventilation systems, and would be open-sourced, meaning freely distributed.

Nataraj wants to make the ventilators available under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization Directive for use in clinical settings. Testing could be completed this week at a lab at Children’s Hospital. And ECRI, an independent lab in Plymouth Meeting, says it will validate the design for free.