The Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a design of a negative pressure room (NPR) to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 through air at isolation wards and testing labs, thus protecting the medical staff from getting infected.
The design and modelling of the NPR took shape after a group of professors, including that of IIT Ropar, decided to come up with a solution to protect the frontline health staff working at coronavirus isolation wards. "We have come up with a design and modelling of NPR which can be set up at isolation wards and testing laboratories in preventing transmission of viruses," said IIT Ropar Associate Professor Dhiraj Mahajan.
He said South Korea managed to contain the spread of coronavirus to a large extent because of the NPR system. Mahajan said the low-cost NPR will help in protecting the health staff working at isolation wards.
Meanwhile, Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank appreciated the IIT Ropar team for the invention. "Congratulations to team @IITrpr led by Dhiraj K Mahajan for working out engineering aspects of Negative Pressure Rooms to create facilities for mass screening for Covid-19. It will help to contain the rapid spread of the virus," the minister said on Twitter.
Explaining the concept of negative pressure rooms, Mahajan said they are specially designed isolation rooms in hospitals and medical centers to prevent the transmission of viruses through air by patients. It includes a ventilation system that generates a negative pressure in the room and allows air to flow into the isolation room and escape from the room, carrying away the virus along, he said. "It will prevent spreading of COVID-19 patients' droplets in the air if they are coughing in the room," he explained.
Mahajan said it will cost Rs 9,000 for setting up a negative pressure room with a dimension of 9X9X8 cubic feet for a patient. It mainly involves exhaust fans, fine grade plastic sheets etc.
The IIT professor said inquiries about the NPR design have already been made by officials in West Bengal, adding they would soon make a prototype of the NPR. Mahajan, however, sought help from the Punjab government in giving them relaxation from curfew restrictions in sourcing necessary equipment for making the NPRs. Meanwhile, another team of researchers at IIT Ropar had developed a low-cost ventilator which can provide oxygen to two patients at a time. "It can be used for automatic compression of Ambu bag used in manual resuscitator," they said.Coronavirus outbreak: Increase testing to avoid another lockdown, says ex-RBI chief Urjit Patel