IIT-K, SGPGIMS jointly develop safer alternative to N-95 masks
In an effort aimed at providing a much safer alternative to N-95 masks, which are being used by people in large numbers to protect themselves from corona virus infection, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K) and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, have jointly developed a working prototype of a positive pressure respirator system (PPRS).
Professor Nachiketa Tiwari (IIT Kanpur), and professor Devendra Gupta, in-charge, Covid-19, ICU SGPGIMS, Lucknow have led the innovation.
“While the existing N95 respirator does not protect the user if there is an imperfect seal between the mask and the face, as there is negative pressure inside the mask. In contrast, the PPRS provides uncontaminated air because it uses positive pressures. Thus, contaminated air from the room cannot enter the PPRS even in presence of leakages,” professor Tiwari said.
“The PPRS is better placed vis-à-vis N95 respirator in one more way. The N95 respirator is only 95% efficient. Thus, health professionals working in isolation wards with large number of Covid-19 infected patients may fall sick due to exposure to significant viral loads. The PPRS eliminates this risk as well,” Tiwari added.
Prof Gupta of SGPGIMS said, “This is just the prototype. We have applied for patenting of the design of the product. A lot of refinement will be done in due process of time.”
“The PPRS is essentially made up of a snug, comfortable and leak-proof transparent enclosure for mouth and nose which receive positive pressure air from a portable, light, and wearable air-bottle as well as a trolley-mounted large cylinder,” said Gupta.
“The device can deliver uncontaminated air for over six hours. It uses locally producible reliable one-way valves to avoid the inflow of contaminated air,” he said.
The new PPRS is simple, rugged and incorporates multiple design features to protect the user. It is a universal, i.e. one-size-fits-all, design. It uses easily available local materials for fabrication.
“And finally, it can be produced locally as it uses commonly available skill sets. Thus, such PPRS devices can be produced in very large numbers in a very short time frame across the country,” the IIT-K professor said.