Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
This footballer who plays in the Spanish third tier has led the design of a ventilator “that works really well with coronavirus patients” during his time off from football.
UD Ibiza centre-back Alex Quintanilla, 29, helped lead the design and technical development of a respirator that was patented by Spanish doctor Lucas Picazo in 1995.
Quintanilla graduated as an industrial engineer specialised in fluids but has played in several reserve teams of major Spanish clubs such as Athletic Bilbao and Valencia.
He signed for Ibiza in August last year and the team were second in the Spanish third tier before the competition was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the stoppage of play Quintanilla has kept very busy working with the ‘Ventijet’ project which has developed a much-needed and affordable ventilator to help critical patients being treated for COVID-19.
The centre-back told local media: “It is a different kind of ventilator that works really well with coronavirus patients.
“It is unique in its simplicity of the compartments used to build it. It is ideal for the most critical patients.”
Quintanilla said the process “was very intense for the last 19 days. We dedicated around 12 hours every day but it was worth it. Seeing the results makes you feel happy and accomplished.
“We are putting it at production cost. The work and that is our own thing, only the material will be paid. Nobody is looking for financial gain here, we just want to collaborate in an emergency situation.”
Local media report the Ventijet respirator may sell for 2,000 EUR (1,758 GBP) which is 10 percent less than others already on the market.
When speaking about where the project stands he said: “We are in the process of homologation. The Basque government and the authorities are supporting projects like these.
“We have already spoken with some hospitals, but the process is not simple. We have to find a balance between speed and safety.”
The footballer worked with a team spread across several Spanish cities communicating through videoconferences and text messages saying it was “a team effort. We just prepare the weapons for the battle, the big job is of the medical workers.”
VentiJet helps counter the effects of COVID-19 on a patient’s breathing by stopping expiration and applying Positive End-Expiratory Pressure (PEEP).
PEEP maintains above atmospheric pressure at the end of exhalation.
VentiJet is controlled by time and applies a constant flow of air to the endotracheal tube connected to the patient.
An endotracheal tube is a plastic tube which is inserted through a patient’s windpipe and is connected to a ventilator to assist in breathing.
Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19. According to the latest figures by Johns Hopkins University Spain has 148,222 cases leading to 14,792 deaths.
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