Long working hours wearing PPE kits are making the task at hand even more difficult for doctors and other frontline health workers around the world. Dr Poonam Kaur Adarsh, who treats COVID-19 patients at her clinic in Pune, dealt with the same ordeal.
Realising the need to provide some relief to medical practitioners, Dr Poonam's son Nihaal Singh Adarsh, a second-year student of KJ Somaiya College of Engineering in Mumbai, has developed a compact ventilation system for PPE kits.
The device has now received recognition from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and more such prototypes are being prepared to provide comfort to a large number of doctors who are working day in and out.
What's Cov-Tech Ventilation System and how does it work?
Nihaal says the device 'Cov-Tech Ventilation System' is like sitting under the fan while you are inside the PPE kit. It is a belt-like wearable ventilation system for PPE kits that comes with a lithium-ion battery that lasts for 6 to 8 hours.
"Cov-Tech Ventilation System is like you are sitting under the fan even while you are inside the PPE suit. It takes the surrounding air, filters it, and pushes it into the PPE suit. Normally, due to lack of ventilation, it is hot and humid within the PPE suit. Our solution offers a way out of this uncomfortable experience, by creating a steady airflow inside," an official statement from the Health Ministry said quoting Nihaal.
He added that the design of the ventilation system ensures a complete air seal from the PPE kit and provides a breeze of fresh air to the user in a gap of just 100 seconds. The device also keeps the doctors safe from various fungal infections, adds the communiqué from the ministry.
How did this invention take off?
As the age-old adage teaches us — necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, too, Nihaal saw the struggles of her mother as a doctor and decided to do something about it. He participated in a design challenge for COVID-related equipment, organised by the Technological Business Incubator, Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory.
With the help from Dr Ulhas Kharul of National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, Nihaal was able to develop the first model in 20 days. The prototype came after six months of hard work.
What's the current status?
Support from several sources has made the Cov-Tech Ventilation System a reality today. The final product is being used in Sai Sneh hospital and Lotus Multi-Specialty hospital in Pune. Plans are afoot to scale up the production.
"The product costs Rs 5,499 per piece and is way cheaper than the competitive products which cost around Rs 1 lakh per piece. The team is trying to further reduce the price," says the official release.