IIT Hyd calls for adopting alternatives to ventilators like ‘Bag Valve Mask’

Already in consideration in other countries, it is portable and could be used in villages without power supply and inexpensive enough to be manufactured in bulk; cost estimate is less than Rs 5,000 per device.

IIT Hyd calls for adopting alternatives to ventilators like ‘Bag Valve Mask’
IIT Hyd calls for adopting alternatives to ventilators like ‘Bag Valve Mask’

Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad Director Prof. B.S. Murty has called upon on the Government of India to consider adopting ‘bag valve mask’ as an alternative to meet any surge in demand for ventilators, both in India and other countries, to treat COVID-19 patients.

While the conventional ventilators are expensive, hard to produce, and not portable, Prof. B.S. Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad and Prof. V. Eswaran, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, highlight that ‘bag valve masks’ are small devices, which are used to deliver breathing support in emergency situations that are inexpensive, easy to produce, and portable – which therefore have every quality that is required in this crisis, an official statement said.

They are most common of these devices is the bag valve mask, often called by the propriety name of ‘Ambu Bag,’ that is used for resuscitation in emergency situations.

The COVID-19 virus has varied effect on the people it infects. Some barely show symptoms, while they still pass on the virus to others who may be more seriously affected. Of the 15 per cent of COVID-19 affected patients who may need hospitalisation, around one-third, (5 per cent) would likely develop respiratory difficulties for which ventilators for assisted breathing will become necessary.

The Professors note that while ‘bag valve mask’ are currently hand-powered and therefore not suitable for continuous use as a ventilator, it would be easy to design a similar device powered by an electrical source, which could be a car battery, apart from the conventional power supply. It could be made portable, and therefore adopted in villages and other areas without a power supply and be inexpensive enough to manufacture in bulk.

“Our estimate of the cost is that it can be manufactured for less than Rs 5,000, or one-hundredth the cost of a conventional machine,” said Prof. B.S. Murty.

Leave a Reply