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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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