Because the Covid-19 coronavirus health crisis is hitting Western countries hard, countries need to be more resourceful to overcome the shortage of protective tools – including masks, gels and tests – delivered by governments.
With more than 20,000 deaths as of April 20, 2020, and a nascent political crisis due to government unpreparedness for the pandemic, a public-private partnership has brought together some of the best engineers from the most advanced French industries to supply a large number of respirators.
Considering the significant cost of each unit – estimated at several tens of thousands of euros – a team of entrepreneurs and medical doctors created a respirator that is simple to manufacture at a production cost forty times lower.
With a grant from the French Defense Innovation Agency (AID), doctors from the Nantes and Grenoble University Hospitals (CHU), researchers from the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and engineers from Renault Sport, a company specializing in Formula 1*, took turns for ten days, 24 hours a day, to develop a prototype that is now awaiting authorization from the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM).
Launched on March 13, 2020, the CLEAR (CEA List Emergency Assistance for Respiration) project has produced two prototypes: CLEAR-M, a monitoring device to improve emergency and transport respirators, and CLEAR-R, an emergency respiratory assistance system.
“They had the mad audacity we needed and set themselves the challenge of getting simple-to-build respirators up and running in a matter of weeks. This is a 100% French respirator,” stated Laurent Wauquiez, President of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region and partner in the project.
In agreement with the CEA, the Breton company BA-Healthcare, near Rennes, will be the first industrial company to produce a few thousand CLEAR-M units. Finally, if several hundred units could be produced within a few weeks, an industrial transfer has been initiated with Renault and Seb groups for a larger scale production.
* Many companies have participated in the project through the Makers For Life collective, including Altran, Extia, STMicroelectronics, HP France, Legrand, Michelin, Parrot, Tronico, Diabeloop, SleepInnov, etc.
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