UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


UCL Ventura CPAP devices manufactured and approved in Cuba

12 January 2022

A team of Cuban researchers has successfully manufactured non-invasive breathing devices for COVID-19 patients, based on the Ventura designs.


They have now been given approval to use the devices on patients by Cuban regulatory authorities.

The team of researchers from the Centro de Neurociencias de Cuba or (CNEURO) downloaded the open-source designs for the breathing aids from the UCL website.

CNEURO is one of the 34 companies and institutions that make up Cuba’s state-run biopharmaceutical organisation, BioCubaFarma – which is responsible for roughly 50% of Cuba’s research activity.

The CNEURO researchers collaborated with colleagues at the Centro de Inmunoensayo (CIE), using a combination of their machinery and workshops to produce the devices

The team had to make several adaptions to the Ventura designs to meet local requirements. As engineer José Félix Pico García from the Centro de Inmunoensayo explains, the original designs utilise machinery and resources that are not available in Cuba. “What we did was interpret the function of the different pieces and designed our own”.

In early 2021, after producing an initial batch of 20 units, the researchers began working with local health specialists and the Ministry of Health to gain regulatory approval.

The CPAP machines – which the team have named VENTIPAP – were trialled in four local hospitals: Luis Díaz Soto, Julio Trigo, Miguel Enriquez and Enrique Cabrera Hospitals. Following positive results, the devices were approved for use on patients by the Control de Equipos y Dispositivos Médicos (CECMED), the Cuban regulatory body for medical devices.

A female patient being treated with a VENTIPAP device

A patient being treated with a VENTIPAP device

50 VENTIPAP devices are currently in use in Cuba’s national health system, with plans to deliver a further 250 soon.

Ernesto Valarde, Head of the Electronics Department at CNEURO, says

“Our department is usually dedicated to the development of products and solutions in the field of neurotechnology. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, the Cuban government called us to seek solutions to help the National Health System deal with the impending health crisis. It was necessary to achieve solutions at full speed so we developed the VENTIPAP, a non-invasive respiratory support system, based on the design of the UCL Ventura, shared by UCL engineers and researchers. The collaborative experience in science and engineering has been fabulous for me and my group, as well as the feeling of feeling useful in hard times such as these. We hope to collaborate on other projects and at the same time serve as an example to other groups”.

Watch Canal Caribe's report on the VENTIPAP interview with Ernesto (in Spanish)

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk96KCBFywI

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