Kerala PSU KSDP is readying the commercial production of what could be the country’s cheapest emergency ventilator. While currently the lowest-priced non-invasive ventilator costs around Rs 15,000, the model developed by NIT-Calicut, would be priced in the range of Rs 7,500 to Rs 8,000.
“We expect to go into production by July-end, provided we get go-aheads from Kerala Government and from ICMR. The prototype by NIT researchers, had been vetted and validated by doctors at Calicut Medical College,” CM Chandrababu, Chairman, Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (KSDP) told FE. The clearances are unlikely to be delayed, considering the screaming shortage of emergency ventilators in India.
KSDP has already set up its plant for ventilators. Currently, the capacity is for 200 ventilators per month. Traditionally a drug manufacturing enterprise, KSDP had been preparing for medical device manufacturing from last March, at the behest of Kerala Government. NIT-C had signed a technology transfer MoU with KSDP.
The new device is no substitute for the mechanical invasive ventilator, but it is portable and accommodates the challenges of Covid-19 treatment. “The exhaled air of Covid-19 patient, using the conventional non-invasive ventilator, would be infected. In the model that we developed, the exhaled air is bubbled through soap solution to disinfect it, before releasing to the atmosphere,” says Sajith Vandana, Head, School of Materials Science and Engineering (SMSE), NIT-C. NIT-C had also developed a reusable aerosol box to go with the ventilator.
“We could cut the costs of production, because except for its German imported top quality air vacuum system, all components are indigenous,” says Chandrababu. KSDP is confident of scaling up for supply to the national market, once it gets the ICMR nod. In the last two months it has been supplying Covid-related medicines to other States like Karnataka and Telangana.