UAE researchers, scientists, and engineers are working together to build medical equipment, including a new ventilator prototype, for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement from state news agency WAM.
Globally, healthcare systems have faced shortages of supplies such as face masks and other personal protective equipment, ventilators, and intensive care unit beds. Last week, Dubai’s World Trade Centre was transformed into a 3,000-bed hospital as part of efforts to ramp up the country’s bed capacity from 4,000-5,000 bed to around 10,000.
The new group of 20 researchers will work to ensure the country’s hospitals are as prepared as possible in the fight against COVID-19.
The group at Citizen Science, an Abu Dhabi-based research organization, has successfully assembled its first ventilator prototype, which will now undergo internal testing before being sent for further external testing and validation, according to the WAM statement.
One of the group’s leaders, Dr. Mohamed Al Teneiji said, "This disease does not discriminate, know boundaries or care about humanity. We cannot fight it with rhetoric or resolve. We must act. Simply, innovating new ways of producing and supplying our frontliners and patients with more efficient medical equipment could be the difference between life and death for many thousands of people.”
Citizen Science is using “cutting-edge technologies to produce new ventilator prototypes for mass production, use artificial intelligence, AI-powered chest x-ray machines, 3D print medical equipment parts, innovate new sterilization procedures for personal protective equipment, PPE, and for large-scale public spaces, and optimize existing ventilators to support more than three patients at a time,” the statement said.
The group has called on UAE businesses, manufacturers, distributors, engineers, and the “wider scientific community” to contribute to the group’s goal for mass production.
“The donation of equipment, resources, raw materials, knowledge transfer, and vital parts can be the difference that turns the on-going battle against an invisible enemy in our favor,” the statement said.
Other efforts around the country to boost preparedness include an initiative by Dubai-based 3D printing startup Immensa to produce medical face shields and ventilator parts using 3D printing technology. The 3D-printed ventilator connector could allow one machine to help four people simultaneously, the National reported.
Researchers at Khalifa University’s Healthcare Engineering Innovation Center developed easy-to-manufacture emergency ventilators that can be rolled out in five days, said a statement from the university in early April.
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