NEW DELHI – Originally created by a robot scientist and a neurosurgeon to help India’s poor, a toaster-sized ventilator is offering hope in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic and demand is booming.
The virus at its most lethal attacks the lungs, making ventilators – which pump breathable air into a patient – critical for hospitals around the world as they are swamped with Covid-19 cases.
With the toll rising in India, where a nationwide lockdown is in force, production of AgVa’s portable ventilator has shot up from 500 a month to US$20 000.
“There was no way we could have foreseen something as big as this,” said neurosurgeon Deepak Agrawal, who co-developed the device with robot scientist Diwakar Vaish.
Priced at around US$2 000, the AgVa ventilator is a fraction of the price of conventional ventilators, which go for more than US$10 000.
India, like most countries, has a critical shortage of beds and ventilators for its 1.3 billion people. The South Asian nation has so far reported more than US$1 600 cases and 38 deaths from Covid-19.
To boost preparedness for a surge in cases, the Indian government has banned the export of coronavirus-linked medical exports, including ventilators.
The AgVa plant near the capital New Delhi has been given permission to work flat out to make what could be a key weapon when India has to fully confront the pandemic.
The makers say the AgVa – which weighs just 3.5 kilos (7.7 pounds) – will help move less critical patients back to their homes as their machine is easy to transport and install, and needs low power. - Nampa/AFP
2020-04-03 10:24:11 | 5 months ago