Winnipeg Ventilator part of Covid-19 response

The Winnipeg Ventilator design from Cerebra is proven worldwide to provide full functionality to address COVID-19 patient needs as well as the necessary fast, low cost, local production needed

April 3, 2020, 11:00 am


The Winnipeg Ventilator has been selected as the ventilator of choice by Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster (“NGen Canada”), the organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster to fund and facilitate the rapid response to COVID-19.

The Winnipeg Ventilator was chosen for design and manufacturing by a national consortium of leading engineers and manufacturers.

The first phase of the project is being led by Canada’s largest medical device design company, Starfish Medical, with the goal to provide a quick solution for Canada’s shortage of ventilators.

“Canada needs a solution to bring ICU standard ventilators to the market fast, economically and at a scale to meet the needs of this crisis,” says Jay Myers, CEO, NGen Canada.

“The Winnipeg Ventilator has proven world-wide to meet those requirements as seen through its broad use and validation by the scientific community.”

Developed by Cerebra’s Scientific Founder, Dr. Magdy Younes, the original Winnipeg Ventilator was licensed to a major manufacturer and used as the basis for commercial ventilators deployed in tens of thousands of machines in ICUs globally during the 1990’s and 2000’s.

These units were used extensively during the SARS epidemic in 2003.

“The nature of respiratory distress in patients with COVID-19 requires different approaches to ventilatory support in different patients, and in the same patient at different times,” explains Dr. Younes. “

This means the ventilator must be able to deliver a range of ventilator modes and oxygen concentrations of up to 100%. While all standard commercial ICU ventilators meet these requirements,

it is very difficult to manufacture such ventilators at the scale and speed required for the COVID-19 pandemic and they are very expensive. The Winnipeg Ventilator is the exception.”

Cerebra is working directly with Starfish Medical and other consortium members to update the Winnipeg Ventilator design for broad distribution and manufacturing at a low cost.

Cerebra will play a key role in supporting the design phase as well as setting up the transfer of design to qualified manufacturers and clinical testing of the final product.

“Now is the time for Canadian companies to work together,” says Earl Gardiner, Executive Chairman, Cerebra. “

We’re proud to bring Dr. Younes’ innovation to meet this urgent need and to do so with the support of NGen and some of Canada’s leading medical device manufacturing companies. The project scope and timelines would not have been possible without NGen funding.”

About the Winnipeg Ventilator

The original Winnipeg Ventilator was used on a research basis in several hospitals in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The system was used in care for hundreds of patients and resulted in 15 publications.

The updated Winnipeg Ventilator system is purposely designed to meet Canada’s regulatory requirements for pandemic response ventilators, in addition to delivering full functionality for use in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and aims to be among the easiest designs in the world to bring into high volume production.

The original Winnipeg Ventilator was used on a research basis and was not an approved Medical Device under Health Canada.

The updated Winnipeg Ventilator design has been accepted and is being developed under the NGen Canada COVID-19 Response Project in accordance with Health Canada specifications for the production of minimally clinically acceptable ventilators for use in Canadian hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Next Generation Manufacturing Canada

NGen leads Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, managing $230 million in funding from the Government of Canada to leverage Canada’s manufacturing and technology strengths to build world-leading advanced manufacturing capabilities.

There is no more important priority for manufacturers across Canada today than to respond to COVID-19. NGen is targeting enhanced funding for companies that can scale-up production of critical supplies in response to the COVID-19 crisis and secure their supply chains given the likelihood of future global disruptions.