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Coronavirus Updates: FDA Approves 'Coventor', A Low-Cost Ventilator Created By UMN Researchers

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized the production and use of a low-cost ventilator created by a team at the University of Minnesota.

According to the university, the Coventor was first conceived by a team of University of Minnesota researchers and an alumnus. It will be the first-of-its-kind authorized for use under the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: University Of Minnesota Doctor Creates Simpler, Cheaper Ventilator

"Our hope is that the Coventor will be useful in those clinical settings where traditional ventilators are not available. With FDA authorization, we are closer to that happening," said Stephen Richardson, a cardiac anesthesiology fellow in the Medical School, M Health Fairview.

Beginning in early March, Richardson and the U of M research team developed and designed the Coventor, which is touted as a low-cost backup alternative for physicians to use.

Ventilators are used to assist patients with increasing blood oxygen levels, and is a critical treatment device for COVID-19. The virus attacks a person's lungs and can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia.

"This allows patients who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to survive, to survive," Richardson said. "The Coventor gives people a chance and that is what this is all about. Making the ventilator as fast as possible, pushing it to people everywhere."

University researchers announced that the Coventor's specifications will be made open source, which means manufacturers across the globe can produce the ventilator.

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