CERN Develops New Ventilator for Mild Case Patients During Pandemic

The HEV ventilator will help free up ICU ventilators for the critical coronavirus cases.
Fabienne Lang
CERN's HEV ventilatorCERN

Another company joins the fight against COVID-19. This time it's Swiss company CERN that has put its physicists to the task of developing a ventilator for patients suffering mild cases of coronavirus. The aim is to help free up ICU ventilators for the more serious cases as many hospitals around the world are suffering shortages. 

CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle collider currently in the world. Now, its 18,000-strong workforce is pouring their efforts into coming up with a ventilator system for COVID-19 patients. 

Here are the details of other companies who have shifted gears to help fight COVID-19.


Patients need more time to breathe

"We want to deploy our resources and competences to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," CERN's director-general, Fabiola Gianotti, said in a statement.

Gianotti created a CERN task force at the end of March whose sole purpose is to find ways in which its laboratory can contribute to the fight against COVID-19. In the short time that it's been up and running, the task force has come up with developing and patenting a new type of ventilator, created personal protective gear for front line medical workers and first responders, and even come up with how to make hand sanitizer. 

CERN Develops New Ventilator for Mild Case Patients During Pandemic
A CAD model of CERN's HEV system, Source: CERN

On March 27, the team developed the first-stage prototype of a ventilator system they've called HEV — High Energy physics community Ventilator. What's great about CERN's HEV is that it can be used in regions where resources such as electricity are scarce because it doesn't use a lot of energy, and has the ability to be powered by batteries, solar panels, or an emergency generator. 

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The design specs were posted on April 1st on

As the physicists described themselves "The team realized that the types of systems used to regulate gas flows for particle physics detectors could be used to design a novel ventilator."

"The HEV design could be used for patients in mild or recovery phases, enabling the more high-end machines to be freed up for the most intensive cases." This is something that's crucial at this stage given there is a current shortage of ICU ventilators worldwide. 

CERN Develops New Ventilator for Mild Case Patients During Pandemic
CERN's HEV system, Source: CERN

The next steps for the team are to find clinicians who will test their device in a hospital setting

This is another promising step forward in the battle against the coronavirus.

Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus here.

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