Wheeler Lab Leads Animal Testing of the Illinois RapidVent Ventilator

The Illinois RapidVent is a working prototype of an emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients.  Website: https://rapidvent.grainger.illinois.edu/index.asp

Full Press Release: https://rapidvent.grainger.illinois.edu/pr

The United States is expecting a severe shortage of ventilators to help people suffering from the most serious cases of COVID-19. On March 16, 2020, a team of more than 40 engineers, doctors, medical professionals, designers, and manufacturing experts from industry launched an Apollo 13-style project to help address that need.

“Our team is living the Apollo 13 movie,” said William King, the overall project leader. “We have dropped everything else to work around the clock to help respond to the COVID-19 crisis.” King is a Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering who holds appointments in The Grainger College of Engineering and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

“We have a team of brilliant and dedicated people that made something that actually works in less than one week. It’s very inspiring. We hope that we can engage even more people to work on the global response to COVID-19 as we continue to develop the prototype.”

“This Coronavirus can impact a patient’s lungs, and those who are sickest may need help breathing,” said Karen White, MD, PhD, an intensivist at Carle Foundation Hospital and a faculty member in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. “Ventilators are necessary to help patients get more oxygen. That’s why we’re optimistic that by further developing the Illinois RapidVent we can develop more options for our sickest patients.”

Animal Studies: Animal tests were conducted in order to validate the RapidVent and to evaluate the potential for use in humans infected with COVID-19.The objective of the animal studies was to test and validate the use of a rapid prototyped emergency gas powered ventilator in pigs that is designed after an approved, commercially available ventilator for potential use in humans infected with COVID-19 virus. This animal study represented a critical testing step to build confidence in the design and ultimately support the effort to explore approval for this ventilator for human use. Since the end goal was for these ventilators to be used in human patients, pigs were of special interest because the size of their lungs is comparable to that of humans.

Animal Team Roster: https://rapidvent.grainger.illinois.edu/rosters

Wheeler Lab Team Collaborators:                                                                               Dr. Clifford Shipley, DVM, Dr. Marcello Rubessa, Dr. Derek J. Milner, Dr. Paula Marchioretto, DVM, Mr. Jonathan Mosley, Ms. Sarah Womack, Ms. Sierra Long, and Ms. Jacqueline Newman.

AACUP Collaborators:                                                                                                    Dr. Courtney Hayes and Dr. Nicole Herndon