Crowdsourcing the fight against COVID-19

As the internet comes together to try to reduce the impending shortage of ventilators during the first wave of COVID-19 cases, I’ve been looking for an organization to help. I can’t say I’ve found one to put all my energy into yet, but I thought it would be handy to have a list of the organizations I’ve found, and a list of references that could be valuable for people designing and manufacturing medical equipment and devices (whether they’re masks or ventilators).

Epidemiological Data Sources:

A long list of relevant problems in a variety of domains from EightyGram.

Funding sources for COVID-19 specific drugs, devices, and ideas per the White House.

Sam Altman is willing to help you find funding (or fund himself? I’m not sure) for big ideas.

Sites Collating COVID-19 projects

Organizations Working on Local Responses



Facemasks, shields and other PPE:



  • Some general notes on vents, since they’re the hardest device to make in all this, and there should be a good reason to put in all that effort:
    • The world’s total production capacity for vents is 40-50,000/year (source).
    • The US has ~160,000 ventilators, of which 98,000 either are not appropriate for managing ARDS or require additional oversight by medical staff (source).
    • We’re going to need hundreds of thousands of additional ventilators just in the US (source).
    • Some of these are submitted FDA for review under their Emergency Use Authority. I think this is the only way we will see vents available in time for peak first wave, given the timeline manufacturers are giving and the timeline to get a 510(k). I’m not sure what effect this has on 21 CFR 820 inspections that would happen in the case of a 510(k) device, but I really doubt that a distributed manufacturing supply chain could be inspected in that time.
    • Another point: the PREP Act was initiated on 2/4/2020 for COVID-19. This provides liability immunity to anyone making or using an FDA approved device except in cases of ‘willful misconduct’ (I don’t think even DHHS knows what that means — the courts will have to decide). Assuming that the FDA approves devices and supply chains, this provides strong incentive for people to donate time/resources to solve the problem.
  • An organized list from Public Invention and (it includes many of the designs listed below).
    • This replaces my list as it is significantly more thorough.

Ventilator Design Competitions

References for device design:

Mask and Face Shield Manufacturing References:

Computing to help understand the virus: