MONTREAL -- A new coalition of Quebec experts is working together to better meet the province’s medical needs as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.

The Santé Libre collective brings together engineers, health experts, designers and more to a virtual meeting place where ideas, problems and solutions can be exchanged.

This comes after the Montreal General Hospital Foundation and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) put out a call for the public to design an artificial respirator at low cost.

Members of the collective have access to a 3D printer, producing valves that can transform diving masks into makeshift ventilators. So far, 18 valves have been given to a CIUSSS in Montreal to be tested.

Other projects being discussed include a humidifier and a device to protect medical staff during intubation procedures.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2020.