Toaster sized ventilator
The novel coronavirus has caused several countries to scuttle around for appropriate equipment and facilities to cater to the infected and suffering. Even Italy, ranked second on the world in terms of healthcare, is struggling to care for those tested positive. India currently has 40,000 ventilators which are proving to be insufficient in this emergency situation as the virus attacks the lungs in the most severe cases. The government has asked several private manufacturers to produce ventilators including the Mahindra & Mahindra company. The government has also stopped the export of ventilators and other equipment to other countries.
In these trying times, a toaster sized ventilator which would not only be cheaper to produce domestically but also more economical to use has provided hope. This Ventilator has been named the AgVa.
The plant that is responsible for the manufacture of AgVa is located near New Delhi. This plant has been given permission to work consistently to manufacture the ventilator which possesses the potential to help the country in fighting the virus.
The AgVa was invented in 2016 by an Indian robot scientist Diwakar Vaish and co-developer neurosurgeon Deepak Agrawal who wanted to make a cheaper and better alternative to the regular ventilators after witnessing the huge crowd at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) lining up to access the health facilities.
The AgVa was invented to provide cheap and efficient ventilators to the suffering medical sector of the country. Thus, it was priced at USD 2,000 which is cheaper than the conventional ventilators priced at USD 10,000 or more. “ICU care is very expensive. In the private sector, even the richest of rich can’t afford it for a long time,” said Vaish. They avoided expensive imported parts to keep the cost low, Agrawal added. The production of the AgVa’s portable ventilator increased from 500 a month to almost 20,000 in recent days.
To make it the ventilator more efficient and portable, the AgVa weighs just 3.5 kgs which
ensures easy transport and allows patients to keep such devices at home. It also consumes only a fraction of the total consumption of power of the conventional models.
Recently, many gurudwaras, trains, and other infrastructural facilities have been converted into medical facilities or isolation wards. In such cases, and ICU can easily be made operational in these places using the AgVa as it doesn’t require any other additional infrastructure, as stated by Vaish.
As the production has increased exponentially one of India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki as well as the Mahindra & Mahindra group have pledged to support production services after the government asked auto companies to help in such anti-corona services.
The Secretary-General of the Indian Medical Association, TV Ashokan commented on the
efficiency of the ventilator and said that it was the kind of innovation needed to fill in health gaps and that it was a basic model that could serve the current situation as it was a “straightforward oxygenation device”. He also mentioned that though it would not be able to support patinents who have undergone transplant or any other major surgeries due to its basic structure, it would be a useful tool to fight the novel COVID-19 and those with less severe needs.
New inventions such as these the Ambu Bag and the AgVa have provided hope to the limited medical infrastructure in India to tackle the pandemic and help treat patients. These would increase not only the number of available ventilators but also allow the setting up of more quarantine centers as the number of cases is seen rising every day.