ET Bureau Last Updated: Jul 07, 2020, 09.07 AM IST

India has developed an emergency breathing assist device that can provide respiratory assistance to patients for crucial 3-4 hours at a time when hospitals across states face shortage of oxygen and ventilator beds due to increasing Covid-19 cases.

Sree Chitra tIRUNAL Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology, a Kerala-based central government institute, has developed the system that would act as a bridge for patients till conventional ventilator is available, a spokesperson of the institute said.

“This device would provide emergency ventilation for a few hours in ambulatory circumstance, or in a military environment where the healthcare facility could be at a distance,” the person told ET. It is not a replacement for a mechanical ventilator.

The institute had started working on the device at the beginning of Covid-19 outbreak when there was a shortage of ventilators. In the current scenario there is a shortage of intensive care beds. “There was an unmet need to rapidly develop an easy-to-operate, emergency breathing assist devices for such a scenario,” the spokesperson said.

A compact machine, the bridge device would hit the market within the month. The institute has tied up with Wipro to begin production and marketing.

The bridge device gains much significance in a scenario where many Covid-19 patients are in home isolation. For instance, in Delhi, out of 25,000 active Covid-19 cases, 15,000 are in home isolation. There are several occasions when complications come up and a patient has to be rushed with breathing issues.

The device could be useful even beyond Covid-19 pandemic situation. In case of mass casualties due to accidents, natural disasters like fire, floods, earthquake, this can provide crucial support before mechanical ventilation takes place. It can be stationed in public places like malls, airports, etc. for emergencies like cardio-respiratory arrest.