You must be aware of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has put a lot of strain on the healthcare system of the world. One emergency equipment that has come under the spotlight during the pandemic is a ‘ventilator’. Countries across the globe are even exchanging ventilators in order to lessen the burden of the COVID-19 mortality rate. To help deal with COVID-19 infections better even when sophisticated technology is not available, scientists have developed a low-cost ventilator. This ventilator is made from standard parts that cost less than $400.
This will especially be useful in countries that have a short supply of ventilators or do not have advanced technology to produce them. First, let’s understand how ventilators work. The most basic ventilators require doctors to squeeze a self-inflating bag in order to pump air into the lungs. Whereas in the case of a high-end automated ventilator, advanced technology controls multiple parameters due to which it is quite expensive.
The researchers from Stanford University, U.S., claim that these low-cost ventilators can solve the COVID-19 problem in countries facing acute shortage of ventilators. A common problem seen in coronavirus patients is breathless. Ventilators pump air into a patients’ lungs and hence, are life-saving. Basically, a ventilator pushes the oxygen-rich air into the lungs of a patient using tubes and expands them. This helps the lungs to take up oxygen and following this procedure they start contracting and relaxing on their own. The new low-cost ventilator has an additional feature of inexpensive modern electronic pressure sensors and microcomputers with sophisticated software. These features help in controlling the pressure while squeezing the self-inflating bag.
The microcomputers in the ventilator even have a smart control panel that can be used to control the settings of the ventilator by the operator. While low-cost ventilators have seen their fair share of inventions, scientists believe that the latest version of it is fancier and more effective. Professional high-grade ventilators can cost up to $20,000. Whereas the latest low-cost ventilator will cost only $400. Dr. Michael Bressack, the co-author of the study from Stanford University, says, “These qualities should make the ventilator particularly helpful for mid and low-income countries, where medical resources are scarce.”
The research team does not manufacture ventilators and hence, they’re offering to sell this technology for free to those who want to manufacture low-cost ventilators. It is amazing how such a simple device can save human lives. The need for a ventilator in emergency COVID-19 patients cannot be ignored. And we hope that tech giants will jump at this opportunity and help save millions of lives across the globe.