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Indian Railways' Southern Railway zone develops prototype of low-cost ventilator for Covid patients

In a statement from the Southern Railway,it said 'Majority of the components used for the system were made in house.'
In a statement from the Southern Railway,it said 'Majority of the components used for the system were made in house.'

  • The ventilator has multiple modes of operation along with a pendant for the patient to alert the medical professional by means of a buzzer and an emergency stop
  • Indian Railways'Southern Railway zone has said that the cost involved in developing the ventilator prototype is approximately 25,000

Indian Railways'Southern Railway zone has developed a prototype of low-cost ventilator,under the “Project SWAAS" programme. The prototype was developed at Golden Rock workshop (GOC), Tiruchy which falls under the Southern Railway zone of Indian Railways.

In a statement from the Southern Railway,it said "Majority of the components used for the system were made in house and required medical kits were procured through trade. The cost involved in developing the ventilator prototype is approximately Rs. 25,000."

After receiving the feedback from Pulmonologist, Railway Hospital, further improvement is being made by incorporating pressure & flow sensor which will accurately monitor the Peak Inspiratory Pressure(PIP) and Positive Peak expiratory Pressure(PEEP) and Inspired volume which may further increase the cost .Once the prototype is approved by the competent authority GOC workshop is planning to start bulk manufacturing of ventilator as per demand, it added.

There is a huge demand for ventilators as more than 40 percent of covid-19 patients develop ARDS (Acute respiratory distress syndrome).A ventilator sometimes called respirator is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air in and out of the lungs to deliver the breaths to a patient who is unable to breath or breathing insufficiently.

India might need anywhere between 110,000-220,000 ventilators by May 15 in the worst-case scenario. The number of ventilators today available in the country is a maximum of 57,000 and come with a cost of 5- 15 lakh, according to a Brookings report.

A team was formed with officers, engineers and doctors from Railway Hospital- Perambur, Ponmalai & Madurai, Govt. Medical College Kottayam, AIIMS Delhi.

The team zeroed in o­n actuating the AMBU bag by suitable mechanical system which can be controlled electronically to obtain the desired clinical parameters such as Breath per minute(BPM), Tidal Volume (TiV) and Inspiration to Expiration (IE) ratio.The ventilator can be connected with an external oxygen supply to provide desired Fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) concentration.

The ventilator has multiple modes of operation along with a pendant for the patient to alert the medical professional by means of a buzzer and an emergency stop. The ventilator operates o­n 230 V AC power supply along with battery backup for 24hours operation ensuring uninterrupted working even in case of power failure. Real time monitoring of control parameters is facilitated through an LCD display unit.

Earlier, Indian Railways has developed a low-cost ventilator, Jeevan, at its Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory.

The union health ministry placed the total number of cases at 18985 and the death toll at 603. The ministry said that 3260 people have so far recovered from the infection.

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