UVM researchers develop emergency ventilator dubbed 'Vermontilator'

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) As hospitals and states scramble to get ventilators, University of Vermont researchers have invented a simple and cheap alternative.

They're calling it the "Vermontilator."

It's an emergency ventilator that can be produced quickly for a few hundred bucks.

It's different than some other ventilators because it uses an alternative way of helping patients breathe called airway pressure release ventilation. That's designed to ease the damage to patients' lungs.

One of the researchers told WCAX News they drafted the design quickly-- in just three weeks. They hope it will save lives in places where hospitals get overwhelmed.

"The Vermontilator would never be used in situations where you have a commercial ventilator. We're looking at the situation where there are patients dying without available ventilators for them and this would be their lifesaving measure," said Jason Bates, a lung expert at the UVM Larner College of Medicine.

Now, they're looking at which Vermont manufacturers could help them produce the ventilators. And they are in the process of getting FDA emergency approval for the design. Once those things are done, they can begin creating the Vermontilators or sending the design out to others.