Nocca Robotics has developed an ICU-grade ventilator customized for the treatment of coronavirus patients, which will cost less than one-tenth of a high-end imported ventilator, the company’s co-founder said on Friday.
Amitabha Bandyopadhyaya, who is also co-founder of Nocca Robotics, told PTI that the company plans to start shipping the indigenously-developed ventilator from May-end or by the first week of June.
“IIT Kanpur and Nocca Robotics have initially signed an agreement with Bharat Dynamics, a defense public sector firm, to produce non-profit ventilators for India, which is expected to be available for about ₹1.5 lakh per unit,” Bandyopadhyaya said. The price of imported ventilators begins from a lakh of ₹8 and rises to as high as a unit of ₹25, he said.
Nocca Robotics co-founder Nikhil Kurele said that although designing a ventilator specifically for treating coronavirus patients, the company has maintained the safety and security of health care staff as a top priority.
“We found that when a virus-infected patient breathes out on a ventilator, he exhales air filled with virus loads. This exhaled air fills the ICU with coronavirus, which is dangerous to health workers. We made ultraviolet filter chambers in our ventilator, which destroy viruses, and then installed filters to free the exhaled air from viruses,” Kurele said.
He said doctors and medical professionals were taken on board to design the ventilator according to Indian needs and understand the challenges surrounding coronavirus. “We tested 5-6 high-end ventilators, which are primarily favored by large hospitals but have not found filters in them to clear the virus load. We find that ventilators in use were not built to manage this scale of virus infection,” Kurele said.
He said the ventilator can be used in ICU as well as ported out to handle patients in other locations such as trains etc. “It’s portable, and the ventilator can also work on the battery for 4 hours,” Kurele said.
The ventilators have been tested by IIT Kanpur and Nocca Robotics. “The testing will start in two Pune hospitals from May 12. These ventilators will also undergo UL and TUV testing. This is vital medical equipment, so testing and high quality are of utmost importance. We expect it to be available by the end of May or the first week of June. By the end of July, we expect to cross 10,000 units of production,” Bandyopadhyaya said.
He said if more demand comes then production will rise by August to 30,000 units. Nocca Robotics also has Indian medical device manufacturers Avi Healthcare and Polybond onboard for ventilator manufacturing.