News & Events

22 May 2020

Fulbrighter COVID-19 response: developing a low-cost respiratory device for babies

Sara Dada is one of the many Fulbrighters involved in the response to COVID-19. She spent her Fulbright in the UK studying global health and infectious diseases.

She now works at the Vayu Global Health Foundation in Boston, where the team has developed an ultra-low-cost, innovative bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device for babies experiencing respiratory distress:

"Before the travel restrictions came into place, I had just returned to the States after almost a month in Kenya and Tanzania training clinicians and implementing our device in national hospitals. What has been incredibly interesting now is seeing where our organisation could fit in the roadmap of COVID response efforts.

Our device fills a critical gap in low-resource settings, as standard bCPAP devices cost thousands of dollars and require electricity and compressed air sources, whereas ours is less than $200 and does not require either of those potentially limiting components."

The organisation has been working to make their equipment available around the world and has set up a mini factory in their Boston lab to produce as many devices as possible. Vayu recently received FDA Emergency Use Authorisation approval for the device to help in the fight against COVID-19.