Mahindra Group’s engineering teams based at their Kandivali (Mumbai) and Igatpuri (Nashik) manufacturing plants took only 48 hours to develop a prototype of an artificial manual-breathing unit commonly known as an Ambu bag, which could cost less than Rs 7,500.
This Ambu bag is a self-inflating device used to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients who are not breathing or not breathing adequately. The chairman of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra, has called this indigenously developed Ambu bag ‘a game changer’ that could cost less than Rs 7,500 and save a lot of lives during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are simultaneously working with an indigenous maker of ICU ventilators. These are sophisticated machines costing ₹5-10 lakh. This device is an interim lifesaver and the team estimates that it will cost below ₹7,500,” Mahindra said in a tweet.
Last evening, Pawan K Goenka, the Managing Director of the Mahindra Group, announced that this affordable respiratory device is near fruition. Sharing a video that shows a working model, Goenka tweeted about the commencement of the testing process and how the Mahindra Group will soon go for government approvals for their device.
Mahindra’s in-house effort for affordable respiratory device is near fruition. Video shows a working model. Packaging yet to be done. Testing started. Looking for ideas on what to call it? Will go for approvals soon @PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @MahindraRise pic.twitter.com/Z2T5fsyDCb
— Pawan K Goenka (@GoenkaPk) March 30, 2020
In the video, we can see a mechanical device that the Mahindra Group has developed to operate the Ambu bag. Medical practitioners currently operate manually during emergencies. In essence, as the pressing is manually done, it cannot be sustained for a longer duration. So they have motorised the pressing operation with all the necessary controls. Also, in the current circumstances, distancing from the patient is very necessary, and therefore this innovation helps medical practitioners, he claims.
Update on the affordable Respirator which we hope will be invaluable in early & recovery stages of the illness. The team’s included several features such as variability controls, sensors & emergency shut-off based on advice from https://t.co/fPKr78ETvb on the packaging continues.. pic.twitter.com/jMnhf2VwDs
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) March 31, 2020
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), about 5 per cent of the COVID-19 positive patients will require intensive care, of which half will need mechanical ventilation. Thus, hospitals will need a steady supply of ventilators to effectively treat critical patients since these medical devices help in artificial respiration once a patient’s lungs fail.
Beside developing the Ambu bag, the Mahindra Group has also begun assembling face shields for medical practitioners on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic.
“With a design sourced from our partner Ford Motor, we are now ready to make this Face Shield for use of medical service providers. We are targeting to make 500 on Monday and then ramp up,” said Goenka on his Twitter handle on Saturday.
In a subsequent tweet, Anand Mahindra shared that making these shields involves a simple design and operation. Moreover, anyone who wants to make them can contact them since the requirement for this device is enormous, he added.
Earlier last week, senior executives of the Mahindra Group announced that alongside two large public sector undertakings, it is working with an existing manufacturer of high specification ventilators to help them simplify design and scale up their capacity.
In the past fortnight, we have heard multiple accounts of doctors on the frontlines risking their lives because of shortages in personal protective equipment.
At this juncture, we cannot afford to have our doctors or nurses contract the virus because of shortages in the qualified medical personnel to treat positive cases of COVID-19. As many senior professionals of the medical community have stated, the supply of personal protective equipment and critical ventilators needs to be ramped on a war footing. Getting the numbers right is critical here.
Thus far, India has currently over 1,200 active COVID-19 cases while reporting 32 deaths so far. Besides the Mahindra Group, there are other firms engaged in the supply of critical equipment. Nonetheless, considering the rapid nature of the spike in COVID-19 positive cases, our hospitals are in desperate need of more equipment.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)