Govt preps for spike in Covid-19 cases, okays plan to make more ventilators
The availability of ventilators will be a key determinant in India’s success to keep the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients when the infection moves into the community transmission stage and the number of coronavirus patients rises sharply.
A top panel of scientists on Saturday cleared an industry proposal to ramp up production of ventilators in the country to minimise shortages in the context of increasing numbers of people testing positive for the Sar-CoV-2 virus.
Government sources said there are over 4,000 ventilators in the country. The availability of ventilators will be a key determinant in India’s success to keep the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients when the infection moves into the community transmission stage and the number of coronavirus patients rises sharply.
The international experience has been that around 5% of coronavirus patients need a ventilator to assist them in breathing.
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Government sources said the panel of top scientists, officially called the empowered group on Covid-19 Response, had cleared a proposal of the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone Limited to scale up production of ventilators and other Covid-19-linked devices.
The approval comes just a day after the group of ministers that formulates India’s response to the health crisis had banned export of ventilators and respirators to ensure adequate supply of the critical devices within the country.
The anticipated shortage of ventilators isn’t unique to India. In the United Kingdom, the government has responded to the shortage by roping in manufacturers such as the aerospace and engineering group Rolls-Royce and vacuum company Dyson to produce the equipment. In Italy, 3D printing companies have been trying to create components for the ventilators.
Sar-CoV-2 and ventilators
Sar-CoV-2 virus targets the lungs and kills people from severe acute lung infections such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Ventilators - mechanical breathing machines that help patients breathe and prevent the lungs from collapsing - blows air with extra oxygen into the lungs to maintain optimal levels of oxygen in the blood.