Can Ruti Campus, Hospital Clínic Barcelona and Barcelona University collaborate in a Ministry of Health project to develop emergency ventilators

- Innovation, Institutional
  • The Germans Trias i Pujol and Clínic Barcelona Hospitals and the University of Barcelona are providing scientific support to develop a device that allows patients to be ventilated in the absence of conventional ventilators
  • Three Catalan companies (, GasN2 and Innova) are creating and adapting emergency models of ventilators to deal with the crisis caused by COVID-19.
  • The three proposals are now in the simulation and experimental phases. When they have completed all the validations and have obtained the authorization of the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS) production will start on industrial scale.
  • Support from civil society will be key in developing the three models and financing production

A team made up of professionals from the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), the Hospital Clínic Barcelona and the Faculty of Medicine and Science of the University of Barcelona are providing scientific and economic support for the three new models of emergency ventilators for treating patients affected by COVID-19. The three models are easy to manufacture efficiently.

The simultaneous coming into use of the three models is fruit of the efforts of all the agents involved (companies, hospitals, research centres, universities and administrations). Thanks to the donations received from private individuals, companies and civil society entities we will be able to continue to industrial scale production of the prototypes.

The initiatives can also count on the support of the Catalan Health Service, which is facilitating the incorporation of companies and helping the centres find this type of solution. When the project has been approved, they will promote their use throughout the network as soon as is possible.

Dr. Xènia Acebes, director of the Area of Medical Attention for the Catalan Health Service, reinforced the idea that, "this is an exceptional situation, only collective intelligence generated when all the agents together to provide new solutions can allow us to solve all the challenges in a record time.

Emergency ventilator

The three designs aim to help ventilation in the situation of a lack of conventional ventilators for those patients with sever respiratory problemes, such as those caused by COVID-19. The devices allow the constant and objective control of respiratory frequency and other parameters and provide vital support for the patient that they would not otherwise receive. They are only conceived for temporary use in the emergency situation and the absence of available conventional ventilators.

The three prototypes are passing the validation tests with simunlators, being carried out at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science at the UB, Clínic Campus, under the supervision of Dr Josep M. Nicholás, specialist in intensive care medicine and Lecturer at the UB and Dr Ramón Farré, Professor of Physiology at the UB and leader of the group in Respiratory Biophysics and Engineering at the IDIBAPs and Dr Manel Puig, of the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP). The models are now being validated in animals; the tests are being carried out at the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bioimage (CMCiB) at the IGTP. In the next few days tests will be carried out in patients under the supervision of the relevant ethical committees.

Dr. Josep M. Nicolàs explains, "we are contributing to the initiatives to develop ventilation devices in the absence of conventional ventilators and we are bringing our knowledge of the methodology to the creation and calibration of devices."

Dr. Ramon Farré comments, "We are working in coordination with several teams and institutions to achieve a machine that we can offer the health service as a solution to the assisted respiration emergency."

Dr Manel Puig, underlines that fact that, "It is an enormous  and coordinated effort to bring all the collective experience and know-how of a diverse group of agents to the service of the Catalan health system and to accelerate the processes while maintaining all guarantees and pass all the tests to reach patients as quickly as possible."

Dr. David Priego, clinical expert in the management of innovation at the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital considers that "we have advanced very quickly in a short time, from an idea to several prototypes to products that could be a reality for use in daily clinical practice scalable to industrial level. This is only possible thanks to the support of our medical experts in ventilation as are Doctors Marc Fabra, Hipòlit Pérez and Pilar Ricart of the Intensive Care Unit Germans Trias and of Dr Martí Pons of the Intensive Care Unit of Sant Joan de Deu Hospital."

Once the prototypes have passed the validations, they will have to be approved by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS) production and state distribution will be able to start.

The models are:

OxyGEN-IP designed by the company This is an open hardware solution (plans, and software available free) which mechanically and autonomously automates an AMBU device. It allows the constant and objective control of respiratory frequency, current volume and inspiration/expiration rates. The partners are prepared for massive production in the next few days.

Respira, a design by GPAInnova, adapts manual ventilators and allows them to ventilate in an automatic mechanized way. They permit remote control in real time of variables such as frequency and volume of air and oxygen provided to the patient. The use of a control station means that up to 20 devices can function simultaneously using a wifi network.

The third device is called DAR (Autonomous Respiratory Device). Gas N2 has designed, developed and set up a prototype of mechanized intubation ventilators (MVI). The equipment helps respiration invasively and is composed of industrial parts, including pneumatics and electrical and electronic equipment, software to control the variables, monitor screen and visual and audio alarms (MVI Ventilator).

Funding Campaign

In the last few days there have been a large number of donations to develop and produce the ventilators. Without the support of civil society, the projects would not be possible. Only thanks to the implication of disinterested individuals, companies, small businesspeople, public entities and the administration can this be made possible. The teams wish to express their gratitude to everybody involved for all the support that is allowing them finance production of the equipment needed.

Dr Josep M. Campistol, General Director of the Hospital Clínic Barcelona highlights that "This is a key project for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and is only possible thanks to a large amount of support received."

About the Companies


OxyGEN is a project developed by a group of professionals led by the Barcelona company, specialized in tailormade innovation and technology services for small and medium companies. They are specialists in developing hardware and software fast and in a rapidly scalable way. The project involves companies, private individuals and large corporations.

About GPAInnova

GPInnova is a multinational Catalan company based in Barcelona, specialized in machinery with metallic finishings and with an innovation project for aquatic drones for different tasks. GPAInnova has a team of 65 staff and more than 25 engineers and a turnover of 5.9 million euros in 2019. The company has received funding from the European Union from the Phsae 2 of the SME Instrument Programme. It has been selected as one of the 1,000 european companies showing the greatest growth in 2020 and was placed 76th in the list published by the Financial Times.

About GASN2

Founded in 2009, GASN2 is a Catalan Company that designs, builds and distributes industrial equipment for gas consumption. It is a comapny specialized in providing resources to the gas industry with alternatives to the traditional models. The main objective is to optimize industrial processes surrounding the consumption of gases, provide cutting edge solutions and improve efficiency of processes to reduce associated costs, while remaining committed to protecting the environment.

To reach its goals of quality, efficiency and sustainability, GASN2 has created a business model based on constant evolution, development of new challenges and the implementation of new systems All the personal of the company, and especially the R+D+I Deparetment innovate constantly to offer better solutions to their clients daily.