SodaStream, Hadassah Hospital unveil innovative respiratory device for COVID-19 patients

A clinical trial of StreamO2 has started in the Jerusalem medical center after the device was approved by the Israeli Ministry of Health

The Stream O2. Photo: SodaStream

Israel-based sparkling water maker SodaStream and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital unveiled Thursday that they had jointly developed a device that helps address the critical need for respirators in hospitals and healthcare facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

StreamO2, inspired by the technology of the countertop carbonated water machine producer, is expected to provide respiratory assistance to COVID-19 patients in mild to moderate conditions. It can also allow more mechanical respirators to be freed up for patients in more serious condition. The device has been approved by the Israeli Ministry of Health, and a clinical trial in the Jerusalem hospital's intensive care unit has already begun.

The innovation is designed to treat COVID-19 patients who are in respiratory distress but still breathing spontaneously. The device provides the proper levels of oxygen required in each patient's situation. Studies have shown that this type of oxygen device can prevent aggravation and intubation (invasive respiratory assistance) in some cases, and may reduce the risks and complications associated with it. 

The device developed by SodaStream and Hadassah allows for the administration of an oxygen-air mixture through the nose at high flow rates, high humidity, and body temperature. The development is based on a thermodynamic system that controls the temperature of the air-oxygen mixture and flows the mixture into the patient's nose in combination with high humidity of over 80%. The parameters of humidity, temperature, and percentage of oxygen - critical to the quality of respiration - are constantly monitored and provided to the medical staff.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, Dr. Akiva Nachshon, a senior physician in the intensive care unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, contacted Avi Cohen, Head of the Research and Development division of SodaStream, and together they set up a special team comprised of SodaStream development engineers. Given the pressing need for such a solution, the engineering team led by Cohen, together with the medical guidance of Dr. Nachshon and the team of Hadassah Hospital experts, designed and built the machine in a very short time, while adhering to the strictest technology and regulatory requirements. Due to the urgent necessity for the product, the team received an accelerated approval from the Clinical Trials Unit of the Israeli Ministry of Health, and has just initiated the clinical trial among 40 patients.

"We realized that there was an acute shortage of non-invasive respiratory aids to treat COVID-19 patients, and after recognizing that there was a desire from the industry to help in dealing with this crisis, we tried to think outside the box", explained Dr. Nachshon. "We learned based on a friend's advice that the solution is right here in the Israeli industry, under our nose, in every kitchen.  One conversation with SodaStream Head of R&D was enough to get things going. On the same day, we already sat on a sketch, and from that point the project progressed incredibly fast. Our vision is to be able to assist every patient in need of respiratory assistance as this treatment can prevent unnecessary invasive interventions."

"The nasal breathing therapy machine developed by the joint team of doctors from Hadassah and SodaStream engineers can be a perfect life-saving solution," explained Avi Cohen, Head of Research and Development at SodaStream. "The advantage of our development is the ability to replicate it in bulk for patients suffering from respiratory distress in Israel and around the world".

"It is a tremendous privilege for us to be able to use our technology and resources to provide relief to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and to help save lives", commented Eyal Shohat, Global CEO of SodaStream. "We will provide Hadassah with all the means at our disposal in order to assist in this national effort, and we will not hesitate to reach out to other countries and offer our assistance."