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Coronavirus outbreak: Trivandrum-based institute develops easy-to-use home ventilators

Sonal Khetarpal     April 3, 2020

Trivandrum-based Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has developed a portable and lightweight emergency ventilator system based on Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU).

It is essentially a hand held device also called as bag-valve-mask (BVM) to provide positive pressure ventilation to a patient who is either not breathing or who is breathing inadequately. The device can assist the breathing of the critical patients who have no access to ICU ventilators.

Covid 19 causes moderate to severe symptoms of pneumonia in 14 per cent of patients, who need oxygen and ventilation support. But of this only 5 per cent of cases develop several adult respiratory distress syndrome that requires them to be hospitalised in the ICU and provided advanced mechanical ventilator therapy.

Explaining the rationale of the product, Asha Kishore, Director, SCTIMST says, "Many of these cases can be managed in isolation wards using our ventilator system or even be provided with supervised home care with a simple ventilator system developed by us. This will save ICU beds and advanced ventilator systems for severe cases. High-end ventilators are very expensive and need a lot of inventory to be stocked which may not always be possible during an epidemic. The majority of our population is distributed in towns and rural areas and ICU trained doctors are limited. Managing advanced ventilators in these areas may not be possible. With its simple design and ease of use, automatic AMBU based ventilators system can be used by healthcare personnel with minimum training."

The institute will do its clinical trial, development and manufacturing along with Bangalore-based Wipro 3D, business division of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, to meet COVID 19 related crisis.

The institute says the technology was developed in a week and the device is designed with readily available components. The idea is to produce it fast so that is available quickly as an alternative.

The tie-up with Wipro 3D also involves joint further improvements and developments during clinical trials, and production.

The institute involved a cross-departmental team in developing the know-how and was led by personnel from the Artificial Organs Division, the Biomedical Technology Wing and Department of Anaesthesia of the Hospital.

The other fast track products lined up are: ventilator sharing kit, isolation pods, disposable safety face shield, battery operated assistive breathing unit amongst others.

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