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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

DST sanctions 5 projects to tackle Covid-19, SCTIMST Kerala to produce portable ventilators

For enabling rapid production, the device is designed with readily available components so that it becomes an alternative solution. It provides ventilation support to the needy and is an ideal solution for ventilation shortages.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 2, 2020 9:14:34 pm
coronavirus india, coronavirus cases india, ventilators coronavirus, ventilators in india, coronavirus news, latest news The DST has sanctioned technology to produce emergency ventilators (Representational)

Taking on the Covid 19 pandemic on a war footing, the Department of Science and Technology has sanctioned as many as six technology based projects to address various issues such as the production of emergency ventilators, to address the issues arising from the pandemic.

Of these, five have been sanctioned under its Science and Engineering Board (SERB) division with a grant of Rs 25 lakhs annually, subject to increase depending on the success of the projects. Three of these five projects involve the development of antiviral and virustatic surface coating of inanimate surfaces, such as personal protection equipment
(PPE).

While the SERB projects are more research oriented and are looking at long term solutions along with short term ones to deal with Covid 19, the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), a national institute under the DST, has today tied up with Wipro 3D, Bangalore to manufacture automated ventilators. The
ventilators are based on a prototype of an emergency ventilator system based on Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU), developed by SCTIMST.

The AMBU bag or a bag-valve-mask (BVM) is a hand-held device used to provide positive pressure ventilation to a patient who is either not breathing or who is breathing inadequately. However, the use of a regular AMBU needs two people to operate it, one to hold the mask and the other to hold the bag. This device, developed by SCTIMST, is
entirely automated therefore eliminating close contact of a Covid 19 patient with the bystander.

The ventilator has been collaboratively developed by the Institute’s Artificial Organs Division, the Biomedical Technology Wing and Department of Anaesthesia. The technology was developed within a week, say officials.

“Covid 19 patients show moderate to severe symptoms of pneumonia in patients thus the requirement of the ventilators. But it is actually only 5 per cent of the patients who are severe and suffer from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. They are the one’s who need to be admitted to ICUs. Whereas those with moderate symptoms can easily be helped with our portable ventilators, not in ICUs but in isolation wards. As a matter of fact, is some cases, these can even be used on patients at home, under supervision. What this will do is automatically ease the pressure on ICU beds and hospitals. Also, most of the country lives in small towns and rural areas with limited facilities in terms of both ICUs and ICU trained doctors. High end ventilators are also expensive and acquiring so many of them, difficult,’’said Director SCTIMST Dr. Asha Kishore.

Dr. Kishore adds that over the next ten days, the Institute along with Wipro, will be carrying out clinical trials and raw material sourcing. The project will manufacture 1,000 portable ventilators in its first batch, which should start rolling out after a month.

For enabling rapid production, the device is designed with readily available components so that it becomes an alternative solution. It provides ventilation support to the needy and is an ideal solution for ventilation shortages. The device, which is portable and lightweight, enables positive pressure ventilation with a controlled rate of expiration, Inspiratory to Expiratory Ratio, Tidal Volume, and so on.

Also, A PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) Valve can be added as an extra component to maintain pressure on the lower airways at the end of the breathing cycle, which prevents the alveoli from collapsing during expiration. The compressed gas source can also be attached to the system. The automatic device will minimize the need of support
personnel in the isolation room, thereby enabling a safer and effective lung-protective operation to COVID patients.

“The technology was developed in a week. Millions of people worldwide are affected by COVID-19, and the numbers are increasing at a very fast rate. In this alarming situation, a handy artificial manual breathing unit (AMBU) will be very helpful. We intend to quickly move into clinical trials and then and manufacturing through Wipro3D Bangalore’’.

The SERB projects meanwhile include, the identification of global metabolite biomarkers in CoVID-19 infected patients for targeted therapy being developed by the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay. This will identify the global metabolite biomarkers in CoVID-19 infected patients. It will help in search of potential biomarker signature for CoVID infection and recognition of novel targets for therapy.

The development of functionalized inanimate surfaces with repurposable multi-targeted viricidal agents/drugs for preventive and cost-effective antiviral applications, being developed by the Department of Chemistry, IIT Kanpur. This project looks at developing viricidal coatings for inanimate surfaces used in healthcare settings such as surgical masks for the prevention of infectious diseases caused by highly contagious pathogens such as severe acute respiratory
syndrome-related novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

The third project, being developed by JNCASR Bangalore, involves the development of antiviral surface coatings to prevent the spread of infections caused by influenza virus, as the attachment of viruses onto surfaces leads to the spread of infections, the objective of the proposal is to develop small molecular and polymeric compounds which
will be coated, both covalently as well as non-covalently, on various surfaces and kill respiratory viruses completely upon contact.

Development of formulations for viral decontamination of inanimate surfaces, by IIT Delhi. That is the development of a material which may be used as a virus tactic and be applied to mops to disinfect the surfaces to remove any adhering viruses or bacteria.

And lastly the antibody-based capture of 2019-nCoV and its inactivation using lipid-based in situ gel by the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay. This project will help develop antibodies against the receptor-binding domain of the spike glycoprotein of CoV involved in recognizing a host cell-surface receptor, namely, zinc peptidase angiotensin-converting enzyme 2.

Another objective is to develop unsaturated free fatty acid-based emulsion loaded in-situ gels to inactivate the virus at the point of entry.

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