As India braces for community spread of the novel coronavirus and a spike in hospital admissions, the government is seeking to ramp up its capacity of ventilators.
What is it? Ventilators (or respirators) are mechanical devices that help a patient breathe when they are unable to do so on their own. Hospitals have a supply system for gases like oxygen, which are used in ventilators.
Working: The ventilator takes the compressed gas (oxygen) and mixes it with other gases (because typically what we breathe is 21% oxygen from the atmosphere). It allows to artificially push in a certain required amount of oxygen into the patient’s lungs and allows them to deflate.
Types: Based on the mechanism used to deliver the air, there are three major classifications for ventilators: bellow-driven or piston ventilators, turbine ventilators, and external compressed air driven ventilators.
Cost: Modern ventilators are expensive. The most sophisticated computer-controlled ventilators cost around ₹40 lakh while more modest ones cost around ₹15 lakh (made abroad) and Indian-made ventilators cost around ₹6 lakh each.
Indian scenario: The Indian industry has a manufacturing capacity of approximately 6,000 units per month, but even these devices use a lot of foreign-made parts whose availability is uncertain at a time when every country is focussed on its own ventilator production.
Source : Indian Express