Donald Sobey, chair emeritus of Empire Company Limited, and other philanthropists across the country are supporting a team of Canadian physicians and engineers who are part of an international initiative to create an easy-to-build ventilator to help treat COVID-19 patients.

Sobey, a Queen's alumnus, was one of the first philanthropists to support the initiative and made his donation less than 24 hours after receiving an early Eastern morning call from his fellow Nova Scotian, Arthur B. McDonald. McDonald is an emeritus professor at Queen's University and a co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, who is leading the efforts in Canada.

"Dr. McDonald’s leadership and brilliance in developing a Canadian solution to the global ventilator shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic is inspiring,” says Mr. Sobey. “He is one of the leading scientific minds in the world, and a source of pride for all Canadians. But when we spoke on Easter morning about the urgent issues facing his project, I was compelled by the voice of a true humanitarian.”

The collaboration, now called the MVM Ventilator project, has gained national attention — including a strong statement of support from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and from federal innovation, supply and regulatory agencies.

The MVM Ventilator project is proceeding well toward its goal through successful testing of the ventilator in Italy, Canada, and the US for certification, guided by medical experts. The collaboration team is working with manufacturers who are capable of production at rates up to 1000 per week in the near future. In Canada, the production companies will be Vexos in Markham, Ontario and JMP Solutions in London, Ontario. The development work is published openly and is being carried out with an open source licensing concept, enabling companies around the world to manufacture this design to help with shortages in other countries.

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