Many helping hands and minds contributed to the success of the project.
Thanks to the volunteer team of the MassVentil Project, under the leadership of Miklós Kozlovszky MD and with the support of the University of Óbuda, the first modular mass ventilation system developed in Hungary will be built, which will be suitable for the care of up to fifty patients battling with the coronavirus at the same time. The members of the project explained to Magyar Nemzet that they are already in the preparatory stage of the preclinical testing of the system, after which the clinical trial may follow, now with the involvement of people. The developers also reported that growing and increasingly strict requirements as a result of the coronavirus epidemic pose new challenges for them, so they are currently working on a prototype that can be built into a container.
“During the development in recent months, we had to develop a number of prototypes in order to prove the functionality of the original mass ventilation concept in all respects. However, in addition to the test environment, the system must also be tested on living organisms, so the preparation of animal testing is currently underway,” reported to Magyar Nemzet the professional team of the MassVentil Project.
The members of the volunteer group described the current phase of the development: during the animal testing, they examined whether there were any microscopically observable lung tissue injuries after long artificial ventilation cycles. However, these studies should not be performed on humans, but
if the preclinical trials are successful, clinical trials may follow, now involving humans.
According to them, this phase will be followed by the production phase, when a prototype version will be made. Then, a series of different tests and authorisations are needed for mass production and marketing, which require a manufacturer of professional medical devices. “We are now working to make the invention a real product on the market with the help of such a collaboration,” the developers said. They added that they are very close to a solution and noted that this pace is extremely fast in the market for this type of medical device, where similar developments typically take four to eight years.
Summarising the results of the last months, the participants also recalled that not everyone welcomed the idea of the revolutionary equipment – like all large-scale innovations, the concept of a mass ventilation system had its sceptics, so the developers try to counter this with professional presentations, and ultimately, a working prototype speaks for itself. It also helped a lot that
the MassVentil system won the first prize in the European Commission’s EUvsVirus hackathon ventilator category.
In addition, getting the materials necessary for development was a serious challenge in the beginning. At first, the inventors financed the costs themselves, but their budgets were not sufficient to sponsor an invention of this volume. Therefore, the team decided to make the results of the research public, as a result of which they received a lot of voluntary professional and financial help, so they managed to start the more serious development phase as well.
Numerous small and large helping hands and minds contributed to the success of the project, from highly skilled professionals through students and companies to more than 1,300 people following their professional communication forum.
Among the volunteers were those who worked to solve a specific problem: they programmed, made a valve, designed a logo or a description for the invention, or they just offered tools. Part of the team took part in the professional thinking and brainstorming, and many of them communicated and internationalised the project, or they built business relationships or partnerships with institutions, wrote tenders, or lobbied in different countries for the success of the development.
The success of the project has been supported by the government from the very beginning.
The developers said that since spring, the Science Diplomacy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also been helping the work by sending the international introductory materials of the MassVentil Project to every country. At the beginning of September, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology also provided financial support for the construction of a prototype of the mass ventilation system.
At the moment, the aim is no longer just to develop an emergency mass ventilation system. In connection with their latest plans, they revealed that they also strive to meet the requirements of easy transportation and installing, and their goals include ensuring continuous, long-term, and reliable operation, more efficient support for medical work, and thus radically improving the current state of patient care. Therefore, they are currently working on a prototype that can be built into a container that is transportable and suitable and that offers safe ventilation for up to several weeks or months.