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ISRO develops ventilators to fight against Covid-19 pandemic

ISRO develops ventilators to fight against Covid-19 pandemic

Bengaluru: Three types of ventilators have been developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, and have come forward to shift the technology to industry for clinical practice as the country battles the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

A low-cost and transportable critical care ventilator, “PRANA” (“Programmable Respiratory Assistance for the Needy Aid”) is based on the automated compression of an AMBU (Artificial Manual Breathing Unit) bag. According to an interest exploration note posted on the website of Bengaluru- headquartered space agency, the system has an advanced control system that includes an airway pressure sensor, flow sensor, oxygen sensor, servo actuator as well as expiration and PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) control valves.

The clinicians can select the ventilation mode and install the required parameters through a touch screen panel and monitor various parameters like pressure, flow, tidal volume and oxygen concentration on the same screen. The ventilator can produce the required flow of oxygen-air mixture to the patient’s lung at the desired rate set by the clinicians. It has also got a provision to attach an external battery for backup during power failure.

According to ISRO, PRANA supports both invasive and non-invasive ventilation modes and is able of giving necessary breaths (controlled by ventilator) as well as spontaneous breaths (controlled by the patient). It implements a powerful algorithm for controlled and safe ventilation of the patient, which raises the alarm and opens safety valves to prevent barotrauma, asphyxia and apnoea during ventilation. It also raises the alarm in case of incorrect or improper connection of the ventilation circuit or inadvertent disconnection of the hose or sensors. There are also provisions to connect bacterial viral filters at each interface to check cross-infection and the contamination of air.

ISRO said that the ICU grade positive pressure mechanical ventilator titled “VaU” (abbreviation of Ventilation assist Unit) can assist or replace natural breathing in patients under respiratory distress. VaU is based on a divergent blower that draws in filtered ambient air, compresses it and delivers it to the patient to achieve ventilation and can therefore operate without a compressed pneumatic source.

The ventilator is provisioned to connect to a high-pressure oxygen source, from which oxygen is automatically measured to achieve the required oxygen concentration (FiO2) in the inspiratory flow. The microcontroller-based control module in the ventilator receives signals from an array of sensors and commands the electro-pneumatic components to effect closed-loop control. VaU also comes with an automatic Human Machine Interface (HMI) System running on a medical-grade touch screen PC, which permits the operator to set and monitor various ventilation parameters in real-time. A power supply unit, which can go with 230VAC or an internal battery pack, is used to power the electro-pneumatic components, controller, and the HMI system of the ventilator.

VaU has been configured to work in a variety of patient/ventilator-triggered invasive and non-invasive ventilation modes and has provisions to recognize fault conditions and raise alarms through the HMI system to alert the operator.

According to ISRO, the gas-powered ventilator “Space Ventilator Aided System for Trauma Assistance (SVASTA)”, a basic model for non-invasive ventilation, is well-suited for emergency use for first-line treatment and as transit ventilators inside vehicles. The basic design is simple, and the parts can be easily mass-produced for emergency use in pandemic-like situations. This ventilator, which works on compressed air, is able to give various ventilation conditions using manual mechanical settings. The system is capable of pressure control ventilation (PCV) in its basic mode of operation with the provision for installing different tidal volumes. The basic ventilator design can be re-engineered properly by the company to provide various modes of ventilation with control systems, electronics, and associated software, it was stated.

The prototype of the three ventilators developed at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, a major space research center of ISRO, has undergone in-house testing and evaluation and suffices with various specifications.

It is said in the ISRO note that the responsibility of obtaining necessary certification from approving agencies of the government of India before clinical usage vests with the industry.

ISRO said it plans to transfer the technology of these three ventilators toPSUs/ industries/ start-ups having a good track record in the production of critical medical/ electronic equipment manufacturing. It called Interested industries/ entrepreneurs to submit their expression of concern before June 15


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