Brazilian public universities make low-cost ventilators for Covid-19 patients

Image: USP

The University of São Paulo and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro — two prominent Brazilian public universities — announced that they have been able to develop their own low-cost ventilator models. Both were successful in trials and now await approval from the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency to begin manufacturing the equipment. 

The ventilator developed by the University of São Paulo’s Engineering School costs only BRL 1,000 (USD 179), while the prototype created by the University of Rio de Janeiro’s Alberto Luiz Coimbra Engineering Institute (Coppe/UFRJ) costs BRL 5,000. The market cost of ventilators is estimated at around BRL 15,000 — and they must be imported from China, which has been problematic as countries engage in cut-throat competition for healthcare equipment.

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro has launched a campaign to raise BRL 5 million to produce equipment to be donated to intensive care units as part of a clinical trial. Meanwhile, the University of São Paulo’s model has already been approved in human tests. The university has made the model available on an open-source base and now hopes that Brazilian companies may produce it.