Home >Science >health >MIT to share low-cost ventilator design, as hospitals face shortage worldwide
Photo Bloomberg
Photo Bloomberg

MIT to share low-cost ventilator design, as hospitals face shortage worldwide

  • The institute would publish the clinical and design considerations online to support rapid scale-up of device production to alleviate hospital shortages
  • The prototype under development is yet to be approved by US FDA

NEW DELHI : With shortage of ventilators rising up to be the biggest challenge, US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has decided to share its design of cost-effective emergency ventilators for rapid scale up.

The institute said it would publish the clinical and design considerations online to support rapid scale-up of device production to alleviate hospital shortages. However, the prototype under development is yet to be approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ventilators are required for Covid-19 patients, as they tend to develop acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS). As number of severely ill patients rise across countries, one of the most pressing shortages facing hospitals during the Covid-19 emergency is a lack of ventilators.

In India, at least 20 Covid-19 patients are on ventilator support as on Monday and according to the government; as many as 14,000 ventilators have already been identified in various hospitals for treatment of covid-19 patients. Some indigenous manufactures have also been promoted for production of ventilators.

In response to the challenge, Cambridge-based MIT said it has rapidly assembled a volunteer team of engineers, physicians, and computer scientists to work on a cost-effective prototype- a simple ventilator device that could be built with about 7500 worth of parts for emergency use, which could be built quickly around the world.

The team is working to devise a mechanical system, using a low-cost ventilator alternative- a hand-operated plastic pouch often referred to as a bag-valve resuscitator, or Ambu bag, which is manually operated to provide breaths to a patient, until an intervention such as a ventilator becomes available.

Since the ventilators perform life critical function and an unexpected failure of the device could be fatal, the team also urged typical do-it-yourselfers not to undertake the project, since it requires specialized understanding of the clinical-technical aspects and adherence to U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifications and guidelines.

To help curtail the spread of misinformation, MIT has also shared the verified information on clinical use of ventilators and the requirements for training and monitoring in using such systems on its website at e-vent.mit.edu.

“We are releasing design guidance on a rolling basis as it is developed and documented. We encourage capable clinical-engineering teams to work with their local resources, while following the main specs and safety information, and we welcome any input other teams may have," said the team, adding that they yet to seek US-FDA approval, which will take time.

In India, Ministry of Health too is undertaking large-scale training of medical professional across several states for proper management of ventilators, led by AIIMS, while also considering indigenous manufacturing of ventilators.

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