SEATTLE, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seattle Children's Research Institute today announced the receipt of a two-year, $2.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to complete prototype development of its new respiratory support device, called Seattle Children's Positive Airway Pressure (Sea-PAP.) Sea-PAP, designed to be an affordable and simple Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (B-CPAP) device, will provide breathing support to premature infants who suffer from respiratory distress. Upon completion, Sea-PAP will be significantly cheaper to produce, operate, and maintain than other ventilators and respiratory support devices.
Children's expects the affordability of Sea-PAP will lead to rapid adoption in the developing world and beyond. The simple design shrinks the cost to a fraction of the $30,000 price tag for conventional ventilators, making Sea-PAP and its life-saving therapy accessible to healthcare systems that lack the resources to purchase and operate complex, expensive equipment.
"The worldwide need for low-cost, safe, and easy to use respirator technology is clear. Many premature infants who require only basic assistance with their breathing die for a lack of a simple, affordable alternative to expensive ventilators," said Charles V. Smith, PhD, Director of the Center for Developmental Therapeutics at Seattle Children's Research Institute, and co-inventor of Sea-PAP. "Sea-PAP's low cost and ease of use will make it accessible to all."
More than four million infants worldwide die each year, and one million of those deaths are attributed to respiratory insufficiency, suffocation due to underdeveloped lungs. These deaths are largely attributed to the lack of respiratory support devices in resource-limited countries. Children's estimates that