The country has been suffering from a lack of medical supplies such as ventilators, Preventative Protection Equipment (PPE), testing kits, etc. as the medical sector struggles to fight the pandemic. As the novel COVID-19 virus attacks the respiratory system, severely impacting the patient in a critical stage, there has been a high increase in demand for ventilators all across the country.
Due to the high import rates and expenses, several domestic companies have risen to the
the challenge of developing ventilators and supplying them at lower prices to the deprived medical sector.
“Nocca designs ventilator”
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur’s startup Nocca Robotics has developed a The ICU-grade ventilator that amounts which is estimated to be 90 per cent cheaper than the imported ventilators.
The company plans to start shipment of the indigenously-developed ventilator from May-end or by the first week of June, IIT Kanpur incubation centre in-charge Amitabha Bandyopadhyaya, who is also co-founder of Nocca Robotics, said in a statement.
“Shipment to start May-end”
“IIT Kanpur and Nocca Robotics have signed an agreement with defence public sector company Bharat Dynamics for manufacturing the ventilators on a not-for-profit basis for India initially which is expected to be available for about Rs 1.5 lakh per unit,” Bandyopadhyaya said.
“Medical experts consulted”
Addressing the issue of safety of the employees who developed the ventilator, the co-founder Nikhil Kurele stated that the company followed all the social distancing guidelines and norms to ensure that its employees did not face the fear of infection.
Nikhil further explained the working of the ventilator and how it was more efficient than the others and that the ventilators were designed by a board of doctors and medical experts. Nocca Robotics has also onboard Indian medical device makers Avi Healthcare and Polybond for the manufacturing of ventilators.
“We found that when a virus-infected patient on a ventilator breathes out, he exhales air filled with virus loads. This exhaled air fills the ICU with coronavirus which is hazardous for health workers. In our ventilator, we have made ultraviolet filter chambers, which kill viruses, and placed filters thereafter to free the exhaled air from viruses,” Kurile said.
“We analyzed 5-6 high-end ventilators that are mostly preferred by big hospitals but did not find filters in them to clear virus load. We found ventilators in use have not been designed to handle virus infection of this scale,” Kurele said.
He said that the ventilator can be used both in ICU as well as ported out to handle patients in other locations like trains etc. “It is portable. The ventilator can work for 4 hours on the battery as well,” Kurele said. IIT Kanpur and Nocca Robotics have started testing the ventilators.
“Testing of ventilators”
“From May 12, the testing will start in two Pune hospitals. These ventilators will also go through UL and TUV testings. This is critical medical equipment. Therefore testing and strong standards are of paramount importance. We expect it to be available either by the end of May or the first week of June. We expect to reach 10,000 units production by the end of July,” Bandyopadhyaya said.
He said that if more demand comes then the production will be raised up to 30,000 units by August.