COVID-19: Indian-American Couple Develops Low Cost Portable Ventilators

Indian-American Couple Low Cost Ventilator

An Indian-American couple has devised an economical and portable emergency ventilator which is soon to hit the production phase. It will be accessible in India as well as in other developing countries to aid doctors to deal with COVID-19 patients. Realizing there is a dearth of ventilators, during the novel coronavirus outbreak, Devesh Ranjan and his wife Kumuda Ranjan were inspired to design this.

Devesh Ranjan is a professor and associate chair in Georgia Tech’s George W Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. His wife Kumuda practices as a family physician in Atlanta. Together they created the emergency ventilator from concept to prototype in about three weeks. Devesh Ranjan told the PTI “If you can do the manufacturing of scale, it can be produced in less than USD 100. Even with a price point of USD 500. Manufacturers would have enough money to make sure that they are making enough profit in the market”. He also pointed out that a ventilator of this kind on an average in the US, costs USD 10,000.

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How The Ventilator Functions

A ventilator supports the body by taking over the breathing process, this happens when a disease has caused the lungs to stop functioning. However, Devesh made it clear, that theirs is not an ICU ventilator as those are more sophisticated and costs more. The Open-AirVentGT designed by the couple is to address the severe respiratory distress syndrome. This is reportedly a common complication among acute COVID-19 patients which causes their lungs to stiffen. Requiring their breathing to be facilitated by the ventilators, as stated by Devesh.

The ventilators developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology makes use of electronic sensors and computer control to administer key clinical parameters such as respiration rate, tidal volume, inspiration and expiration ratio, and pressure to the lungs.

“ The whole goal of this project was to make a low-cost makeshift ventilator that gives those controls to the physician”.

About the developers

Kumudra who at the age of six had moved with her parents to the US told the PTI, “The whole goal of this project was to make a low-cost makeshift ventilator that gives those controls to the physician”.  She did her medical training and residency in New Jersey. Whereas Devesh who has been born and brought up in Patna, Bihar earned his degree in engineering from Regional Engineering College, Trichy. He completed his masters and PhD from the University of  Wisconsin-Madison.

The couple said that India has the potential to become a global manufacturer of low-cost ventilators and then export it across the world. This approach has been taken keeping in mind the developing countries. He further said “The impact of this could be significant if other parts of the world are hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Having equipment that can be made quickly where it is needed and with the kind of control system doctors need could really help address the worldwide impact of this virus”.

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Currently, the prototype is being developed into a real product by Singapore-based Renew Group, headed by Ravi Sajwan, another Indian-American from Uttrakhand. In these difficult times when there is a shortage of ventilators due to the massive spread of Coronavirus, this development is going to help.

Image source: NDTV

Shreya is an intern with SheThePeople.TV