Coronavirus in India: Demand for ventilators surge! Who can make it and how, find out

By: |
March 31, 2020 3:55 PM

Coronavirus outbreak: India is short on ventilators but the country is all set to tackle this shortage! At a time when the number of COVID-19 positive cases are rising by 100 each passing day, it is imperative to talk about the medical facilities India currently possesses.

India only manufactures 10 per cent of the total ventilators used in the country.

Coronavirus outbreak: India is short on ventilators but the country is all set to tackle this shortage! At a time when the number of COVID-19 positive cases are rising by 100 each passing day, it is imperative to talk about the medical facilities India currently possesses. Ventilators are a much needed part of the facilities as they help a patient breathe when they have trouble breathing on their own. Given that the number of cases will rise in the coming days, India will be needing 1 lakh to 2.2 lakh ventilators come May 15, IE reported. These numbers are expected in a worst case scenario. With such projections, there is a need to address how to arrange more ventilators. According to the report, state hospitals in India have around 14,220 ICU ventilators where 6,000 ventilators have been specially dedicated for COVID-19 positive patients.

Now the question remains how can the country ramp up the medical facilities with such less ventilators. It is to note that India only manufactures 10 per cent of the total ventilators used in the country. The report highlighted that imports have slowed down significantly as the pandemic affected the supply chains globally. Therefore, the onus falls on the Indian manufacturers to increase production despite limited capacity.

Many players have stepped up to contribute in manufacturing ventilators.A PSU under the Ministry of Defence Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will be making 30,000 ventilators. HLL Lifecare too has taken out a tender for 20,000 ventilators. Companies like AB Industries and Skanray Technologies are intending to produce more. While AB has said to produce 350-400 ventilators, Skanray Technologies said it wants to manufacture 100,000 ventilators, the report said. Currently the latter company has a production capacity of 5,000 in one batch only and the remaining production is expected to come through collaborations. Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki India has also announced an arrangement with Noida-based AgVa Healthcare where the company is focusing to scale up production to 10,000 per month.

However, one major problem remains regarding the manufacturers setting their foot forth for production. The report said that as much as 40 per cent of the ventilator’s physical components are imported from other countries like China, the US, Germany and France and these components are crucial.

As a result, Skanray, the report said, is working with BEL along with Mahindra & Mahindra in order to simplify the design of ventilators. The report mentioned that the company could start a collaboration with Tata as well. If the design is simplified, it would help overcome the dependence on imports. The report citing Skanray said that if they remove the display and go the simply basic way with buttons, it would ease the process and help during an emergency like this. It would take around 5-6 weeks to start pushing these ventilators out.

The report further explained that whoever is manufacturing should be aware of the clinical aspects of the ventilator along with the requirements of the doctors who are using them. The equipment should be produced by keeping this in mind so that the desired output is achieved. It is to note that “Ventilators are a combination of technologies” and they need software, electronics and pneumatics for handling gases. Furthermore, they should also comply with safety standards with minimum risk to patients in case of any malfunction. It added that a pneumatic external compressed air-driven ventilator is ideal for the novel Coronavirus affected patients that too in an ICU setting.

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