Among those trying hard to economize COVID19 treatment worldwide, an Indian American couple – Devesh Ranjan and Kumuda Ranjan – has designed and developed a low-cost emergency ventilator for developing countries including India. The device named Open–AirVentGT, not only affordable but also portable, is all set to undergo the production stage and be available for hundreds of thousands of COVID19 patients with the severe respiratory distress syndrome. One in every six COVID19 patients experiences difficulty in breathing due to pneumonia and other acute complications.
The number of ventilators available falls short of the growing cases of COVID19. With an upward curve of the COVID19 pandemic amidst the relaxed lockdown, India is expected to run out of isolation beds and ventilators. India has over 80,000 active cases of the novel coronavirus as of May 27. If a few thousand positive cases continue to be reported daily showing no sign of abatement, India can’t help but face a deficit in the number of ventilators by the first week of June.
The dearth of the lifesaving machine in developing countries urged Devesh Ranjan and Kumuda Ranjan, who live in Atlanta, to devise the low-cost ventilator prototype in just three weeks. Devesh Ranjan is a professor and associate chair in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Mechanical Engineering and Kumuda Ranjan practices as a family physician. Less than $100 is the manufacturing cost of the Open–AirVentGT ventilator that the Indian American couple created. Usually, an ICU ventilator costs USD 10,000 in the USA.
Devesh and Kumuda admit that theirs is not as sophisticated as an ICU ventilator. Affordable care to COVID19 patients in developing economies is the main goal of their low-cost, makeshift ventilator that is expected to make treating coronavirus cases with the severe respiratory distress syndrome easier for doctors. The respiratory distress syndrome is a common complication in the novel coronavirus-affected people, and it makes the lungs stiffen resulting in shallow breathing.
The Open–AirVentGT ventilator uses electronic sensor and gives doctors computer control over key medical health parameters, like respiration rate, pressure on the lungs, oxygen saturation, heartbeats, tidal volume (the amount of air inhaled and exhaled), etc. The easy-to-manufacture ventilator is being produced by an Indian American-headed company in Singapore. A technological upgrade to the ventilator will facilitate remote monitoring of medical health conditions of COVID19 patients.
Dr. Kumuda Ranjan had moved to the United States with her parents when she was 6. She completed her medical training and residency in New Jersey, one of the worst-affected epicenters of COVID19 on the globe. Devesh Ranjan hails from Patna, Bihar. He studied his masters at and earned PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The couple is sanguine about India’s manufacturing potential and believes that India can become a global exporter of low-cost ventilators to mitigate the worldwide impact of the pandemic.
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