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The Government announces the COVID-19 innovation Challenge for protecting healthcare personnel

The Science Ministry is to spend 800 million pesos on the design and local manufacture of masks, face shields and protective suits that incorporate innovations like the use of copper, recycled material and 3D printing.

The Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Ministry and Chile's Economic Development Agency (Corfo), supported by the Ministry Secretary General of the Presidency's Government Laboratory have today announced the results of the Covid-19 Innovation Challenge. This initiative will provide 800 million Chilean pesos (around US$934,000) to finance quick-to-implement solutions for protecting healthcare personnel from being infected by the Coronavirus.

A jury comprising experts from healthcare, science and entrepreneurship has selected 13 innovative initiatives designed to make it possible to respond to the high demand in Chile for personal protective equipment like masks, face shields and suits.

The projects - developed in Valparaíso, Santiago, Concepción, Puerto Montt and Coyhaique - will receive co-financing and mentoring during their design, testing, implementation and/or scaling up.

“Safeguarding the healthcare personnel who are exposed to the virus is one of the urgent measures for responding to this pandemic. We are grateful to the four universities, six companies and civil society innovators who responded to this challenge with concrete solutions that could soon be available to all those who are on the front line in this emergency. Caring for our healthcare personnel is a priority and that is why we have worked on this from the very start,” highlighted Science Minister Andrés Couve.

“Putting innovation at the service of people is the objective of our Government Laboratory. This competition showed that this is now more possible than ever before, above all when it comes to something as important as taking care of our healthcare personnel, who are giving their all to address the Covid-19 pandemic. We are pleased that so many creative initiatives are soon going to be available to those who most need them,” said Minister Secretary General of the Presidency Felipe Ward.

“We received around 300 proposals for this Innovation Challenge to protect healthcare personnel, which shows how enthusiastic Chile’s entrepreneurs are to contribute solutions for addressing Covid-19. Innovation and efficiency in the way we act have become fundamental in this pandemic and our entrepreneurs are once again showing how the State did the right thing in counting on them,” commented Pablo Terrazas, the Executive Vice President of Corfo.

COVID19 Innovation Challenge Winners

Valparaíso Region

• KAPLAN Protection - Fundación Cardiovascular Dr. Jorge Kaplan Meyer: Mask and shield model printed using 3D technology; can be made from recycled material.

• Face shields. Digital manufacture at the service of the Valparaíso Region - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso: Redesign, testing, validation and manufacture of face protectors.

• ARC shields - Nicolás Ripoll Kameid: re-usable 3D-printed face shields.

Metropolitan Region

• Cooper Face Shield - Felipe Olivares: face protectors comprising visor and face shield.

• LIVMASK, the mask saving the lives of our healthcare personnel - Inversiones y Servicios FIX SpA: Reusable, disinfectable mask with hermetic adaptation.

• Experimental validation of a breathing device (mask) that can be 3D printed with nanostructures based on copper as an antiviral agent for SARS-CoV-2 - Universidad de Los Andes

• CAREFILT mask - FiltroClima SpA.: prototype for a respiratory face protector with a long useful life.

• CuidaPro Facial - Universidad de Chile: low-cost face protector with a design that is ergonomic, hygienizable and reusable.

• FreeBreath - Compagnon Bernabe S.A.: 3D-printed or mold-injected adaptable modular mask with a replaceable filter cartridge and exhalation valve.

• Fast Shield - Llaguno & Munizaga Ltda.: a 100% laser- or die-cut single-piece face protector with a totally adjustable strap.

Bío Region

• Cubre+: Collaborative solutions in copper - BabyCu Chile SpA: Washable and reusable face mask with antimicrobial activity with copper and zinc particles.

Los Lagos Region

• Reusable Barrier PPE elements adapted to act as protective elements for healthcare personnel - Comercial EKS Limitada: apparel for medical personnel.

Aysén Region

• Project to boost PPE production - FABTEC and Universidad de Aysén: Reusable, sanitizable face shields, laser-cut masks and isolation domes.


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