About one in six people with COVID-19 gets seriously ill, which can include breathing difficulties. The coronavirus at its most lethal attacks the lungs, making ventilators – a mechanical breathing device that can blow air and oxygen into the lungs of a patient – critical for hospitals around the world as they are swamped with COVID-19 cases.
Many countries across the globe have a shortage of life-saving ventilators and India is not exceptional to this crisis. In India, the race to develop the low-cost breathing device is on the rise due to the increase in the number of coronavirus patients.
India’s hospitals are deprived of adequate resources to deal with a rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases. And trying to bridge this gap are the country’s top technology institutes. Students and faculty at the many Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) have joined the fight against coronavirus as the number of positive cases in the country increases at a faster rate.
However, the rate of COVID-19 cases is much below than many countries around the world. This was possible due to swift and appropriate actions by the Union and State governments under the guidance of Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
A Low-Cost Ventilator ‘Prana-Vayu’
Necessity is the mother of all inventions. IIT Roorkee develops a low-cost ventilator to fight against Coronavirus. The closed-loop ventilator named “Prana-Vayu” developed in collaboration with AIIMS, Rishikesh, does not require compressed air and is useful when hospital wards and open areas are converted into ICUs.
The ventilator is based on the controlled operation of the prime mover to deliver the required amount of air to the patient. The automated process controls the pressure and flow rates in the inhalation and exhalation lines. The ventilator will be useful for a wide degree of congestion in the respiratory tract and is applicable for all age group patients, especially the elderly.
The research team from IIT Roorkee included Prof. Akshay Dvivedi and Prof. Arup Kumar Das with online support from Dr. Debendra Tripathi from AIIMS Rishikesh. They teamed up only a week back by remote communication to develop a quick time technology to help the distressed in the situation of COVID-19.
Proper collaboration and cooperation with a common goal and sense of responsibility bring the best out of all the team members. The research development on the ventilator started during the lockdown period necessitating the development of many parts like microprocessor-controlled non-return valves, solenoid valves, one-way valve, etc. using the facilities of Tinkering Laboratory, IIT Roorkee. This is the best example of innovation when things are really going extreme in the present scenario.
According to Prof. Akshay Dvivedi, the ‘Prana-Vayu’ commercial product will be of approximate dimensions of 1.5 feet x 1.5 feet for effective portability. It was presented to more than 450 industries in a webinar organized by CII. It is safe and reliable as it is equipped with real-time spirometry and alarms. It can automatically limit high pressure with an alarm system.
In case of a failure, the circuit opens to the atmosphere which prevents choking. Some additional features are remote monitoring by health professionals, touch screen control of all operating parameters, moister, and temperature control for inhaled air. The manufacturing cost per ventilator is estimated to be INR 25000. They have to find out the way to produce huge numbers with a short period of time to save people’s life.
COVID-19 Challenges Ahead
We believe Indian scientists / medical researchers are capable to do the following challenges also in the limited time:
• Isolating COVID-19 patents body fluid samples (Pharyngeal fluid, blood, plasma, saliva, serum. etc) and finding what antibody, and viral RNAs using RT PCR like various instruments and analytical techniques.
• After COVID 19 infection those are recovered, once again they will analysis their body fluid samples (Pharyngeal fluid, blood, plasma, saliva, serum. Etc.) and they will be finding what antibody and other protein compounds are spiked out using RT PCR like various instruments and analytical techniques.
• Identifying mutated coronavirus.
• Developing safer cultivating techniques for this virus in research lab Based on this report.
• How to rejuvenate the neutrophils in the COVID-19 patients’ body?
• Identifying antibodies capable to fight against this virus and producing larger quantity by using Recombinant techniques using suitable cell lines.
• Developing kid for identifying those people are recovered completely after COVID-19 infection and future preventive measures.
It’s great to see Indian innovators respond so well to this time of crisis and come up with this innovation. This is a need of the hour and Coronavirus funds should be allocated for the manufacturing of such types of portable ventilators or other appliances so that even the rural hospitals should also have access to this life-saving equipment.