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'We're Trying to Save Lives': Israeli Researchers Develop 3D-Printed Ventilators

MDA Director General Elin Bin, MDA Paramedic and medical engineering student Yuval Eran & MDA Deputy Director General – Community Dr. Eli Jafe with AmboVent
MDA Director General Elin Bin, MDA Paramedic and medical engineering student Yuval Eran & MDA Deputy Director General – Community Dr. Eli Jafe with AmboVent

JERUSALEM, Israel – As the number of coronavirus cases increases in parts of the world, so does the threat of potentially running out of ventilators for the most severe patients. 

Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS service, has partnered with Israeli organizations to create an emergency ventilator called AmboVent that could potentially save lives if there are no other ventilators available.

 “Few countries have seen the apex of coronavirus cases in their local nations, which is only going to make the shortage of ventilators even more severe,” said Eli Bin, director-general for Magen David Adom. “This design is intended to serve as a rescue device — for when smart ventilators aren’t available because of demand — and keep the patient alive for potentially days until they can be transitioned to a more sophisticated ventilation device.”

MDA collaborated with the Israeli Airforce, doctors, an Israeli defense contractor, students, and robotics experts to develop a ventilator that is low cost and can be made by 3D printers.  

The ventilator is not sophisticated but is modeled after the bag-valve-mask ventilators used by paramedics to manually pump air into a patient’s lungs. However, AmboVent is motorized and has controls for respiration rate, maximum peak pressure, and volume. 

“This isn’t a substitute for a sophisticated ventilator,” said Dr. Eitan Eliram, who led the coalition’s efforts. “It’s potentially an effective stop-gap solution for providing a seriously ill coronavirus patient with a fighting chance to get past a medical crisis despite a lack of ventilators.”

AmboVent is being tested at Israel’s Hadassah Hospital and instructions for its design and code have been uploaded to GitHub, a service that allows software developers to access information.

“We’re allowing immediate access to a lifesaving medical device in an open-source code model, and not trying to make money from this device at all,” Dr. Eliram said. “We’re trying to save lives — here in Israel and anywhere around the world, where the code for building the device in your local community runs faster than the virus because we send it over email or GitHub.” 

The designs and codes have been downloaded by more than 20,000 people across the world. 

The developers say the project is about practicing the Jewish saying: “He who hath saved one life, it’s as if he’s saved an entire world.


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