Image credits: INCMNSZ
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News Article

Mexican Ventilator Stands Against COVID-19

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 08/07/2020 - 12:10

Ventilator availability was among the main concerns for the Mexican healthcare sector at the beginning of the pandemic. This drove the country to draft quick acquisition plans and entrepreneurs to start developing or trying to contribute to the development of these technologies.

A couple days ago, INCMNSZ announced the creation of the ventilator VSZ-20-2, developed alongside Metalsa, Proeza, FEMSA, Torrey, Bocar Group, GSE Biomedical, Coppel, Lodi Automotríz, TLM, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Lanix Med, Steris, Universidad de Monterrey, Ternium, Nemak and TINC with the technical and regulatory evaluation of COFEPRIS, CONCYT and CENETEC.

To know more about this development, MBN spoke with Guillermo Domínguez Cherit, current Deputy Director of the Critical Medicine Area at INCMNSZ, who took part in its creation. “Years ago, the institute developed a ventilator that mimics the workings of a syringe. We took this prototype and designed an engine that would move a cam to drive a piston and push the air,” he said. Domínguez Cherit clarified that the device is intended to be used only during the pandemic; VSZ-20-2 will not become the standard ventilator for ICU.

Development began in March after the institute, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made a public announcement inviting companies to join the project. Metalsa will be in charge of assembly at its manufacturing plant in Apodaca, Nuevo León, where a space was certified for medical equipment manufacturing by COFEPRIS. The first 20 ventilators were acquired by Fundación Carlos Slim to be donated and distributed to four hospitals in San Luis Potosi, Yucatán, Coahuila and Guerrero.

The titanic effort brings together many well intended actors and it is an example of the alliances and cooperation that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the device’s presentation, Ramsés Galaz, Director General at GSE Biomedical, highlighted that “the VSZ-20-2 emergency ventilator is further proof that collaboration between the government, academic institutions and the private initiative can lead to successful projects for the benefit of all Mexicans.”

Developers have also drafted an open manual of the device’s operative functionality and have made all guidelines necessary for its correct use open source. Moreover, the coalition also offers training for professionals that will use the device.

Biomedical professionals involved in the VSZ-20-2 project, such as Luis Fernández, Founder and CEO of TINC, have been very vocal about the importance of their profession to the healthcare system and the seriousness of an entrepreneurial development to solve the crisis. “It is time for our national industry to start renovating itself to produce national solutions for national needs. We need to set things into motion by supporting national entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship and enhancing our current regulation to facilitate growth in the next years,” said Fernández in an interview with MBN.

Photo by:   INCMNSZ
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst