Two local organizations are stepping up to help fight the countrywide ventilator shortage.

The Rochester Institute of Technology has created a prototype for an emergency portable ventilator just three weeks after being approached by Congressman Joe Morelle for help.

Dr. Nabil Nasr of RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability says the design was made after reverse engineering a ventilator often seen in ambulances, and modifying it for patients of COVID-19.

He says they approached many companies and hospitals, and was touched by how much help they received.

“It’s heartwarming to see the effort from everyone. No one asked where the money was going to come from, everyone just jumped in to help. And it’s been a really wonderful effort,” Dr. Nasr said.

And Xerox has partnered with California-based company Vortran to help the company boost its production of quality, disposable ventilators.

Vice President of Manufacturing Mary Fromm says its company has the capability and assets to help with the effort, and that’s when it connected with Vortran.

“How can we help? Where are the areas where we’re perfectly matched to help meet the needs? We share the same goals that everyone else in the country does right now, and that’s: we want to save lives. We want to be part of that solution.”

RIT hopes to have something ready for mass manufacturing in the next several weeks, while Xerox says by June it will have helped manufacture more than 150,000 ventilators.