Costa Rican Scientists have designed and created medical respirators to help those patients most seriously affected by the Coronavirus. To the present date, the respirators have passed all the test protocols to which they have been submitted.

One of the recent tests performed was animal trials (pigs), which yielded positive results, demonstrating the equipment`s effectiveness and after a series of subsequent validations and protocols, it could begin to be used in human patients with COVID-19.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has forced many countries to search for a variety of medical devices to care for those most affected by the Virus. That is why this project that is being carried out in Costa Rica with the creation of respirators, produces an alternative that would represent a great saving in resources for the nation because the devices would not have to be imported.

The physicist Ralph García, one of the coordinators of the project stated: “From all the economic cannibalism being carried out worldwide for this type of device, for Costa Rica it is satisfactory to know that the country has the human and technical capacity to build this type of medical instrument and guarantee our national health security in that sense (…) So far, all the results both in simulators and in live animals have been positive and have performed satisfactorily”.

This project is called “Respira UCR”; it is in charge of a team of specialists from the State University of Costa Rica (UCR), as well as experts from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), who validate every detail, also with the support of veterinary doctors from the Intensive clinic.

What are these respirators like?

This device has flow sensors, pressure alarms, automatic detection of respiratory rate, regulated support of air volume and respiratory cycle, even having adaptable valves to meet the highest international requirements.

It is important to know that the respirator model has undergone several preclinical tests with robotic models at the Health Simulation Center, and since its inception, it has yielded satisfactory results. In addition to in vitro validations and now tests on live animals such as pigs to verify that the volume of air supplied by the ventilator is correct.

Complying with all health protocols

The intensivist doctor Jorge Espitaleta, coordinator of the Care Center for patients with COVID-19 stated: “A prototype has been achieved; the tests are initially in vitro to see how the mechanical ventilator reacts. Now we are testing live biological models and then we have to adapt some validation protocols so that the device, once the protocols have been complied with, can be deemed safe to use in humans.”

An important fact to know is that pigs are animals with a lung capacity similar to that of humans, and the information obtained will serve to study the calibration of the device to human patients with COVID-19.

For his part, veterinary doctor Andrés Rodríguez commented: “The pig trials allow us, due to its similarity to our respiratory system, to transpolate this information to human patients. The pig does not suffer from this physical involvement since it is anesthetized. We are monitoring the parameters of blood pressure, oxygenation, and carbon dioxide to see that the patient is in normal physiological parameters, we are not doing any surgical procedure or causing pain to the animal”.

Without a doubt, Costa Rica is taking firm steps to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic that has allowed timely responses to our citizens. We hope that soon these respirators can be fully certified and be used in patients who need them.

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