The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a critical worldwide shortage of medical ventilators. By one analysis, world ventilator demand is 10x higher than what is currently available. In low/medium income regions of the world, the situation is especially dire. South Sudan has just 4 ventilators in total, for a population of 12 million people. India, home to 1.3 billion people, has around 48,000 ventilators - or around 1 ventilator per 27,000 people. To put this another way: in a pandemic scenario where 0.1% of the Indian population needed ventilation, India needs 27 times the number of ventilators than it currently has.
Commercial ventilators – from companies like Draeger, Medtronic, Hamilton and others – are highly complex machines that can perform a wide variety of functions. A typical ventilator from one of these companies costs between $15,000 - $50,000 USD. Hospitals in South America, Africa, India and other low/medium income regions simply cannot afford these kinds of machines.
Project RED was founded in March 2020 by engineers with previous ventilator design experience. Our mission is to develop affordable ventilators for regions that need them. Our founders have 15-20 years each of engineering design experience, including several years working on a commercial ventilator design. As such, we are uniquely positioned to develop a reliable, safe and effective solution. Our ventilator architecture is based on a high-speed blower fan which compresses filtered room air and delivers it to the patient’s lungs at a carefully controlled pressure and flow rate. We also support blending hospital oxygen with the air in fractions between 21% - 100%. Our main mode of breath control is an adaptive technique called Pressure Regulated Volume Control, or “PRVC,” and is widely accepted as a safe and effective method for managing a variety of respiratory conditions. Most importantly, PRVC adapts to the patient’s changing lung conditions as time progresses. Our design also includes many of the safety and alarm features found on expensive commercial ventilators. Yet our ventilator will cost around $3K - $4K, 4x-5x less than the commercial ones.
Once our design is complete, we plan to license the manufacturing blueprints (schematics, drawings, assembly and test documentation, software, etc.) out to qualified third-parties who are well-positioned to build and distribute the ventilators in regions where they are needed. We imagine these third-parties will be mainly NGOs or government agencies, but we are open to discussion with different types of organizations.
Project RED is a non-profit organization enabled by the support of generous donors. All donations are used to buy parts, equipment and services needed to develop and test our ventilator prototypes. Please consider supporting us to help bring affordable, life-saving healthcare to regions of the world where it is desperately needed. Thank you!