IIT Kanpur-incubated start-up Nocca Robotics has developed an ICU-grade ventilator customised for handling coronavirus patients which will cost less than one-tenth of a high-end imported ventilator, the company's co-founder claimed on Friday.

The company plans to start shipment of the indigenously-developed ventilator from May-end or by the first week of June, IIT Kanpur incubation centre in-charge Amitabha Bandyopadhyaya, who is also co-founder of Nocca Robotics, told PTI.

"IIT Kanpur and Nocca Robotics have signed an agreement with defence public sector company Bharat Dynamics for manufacturing the ventilators on a not-for-profit basis for India initially which is expected to be available for about Rs 1.5 lakh per unit,” Bandyopadhyaya said.

The price of imported ventilators starts from Rs 8 lakh and goes up to as high as Rs 25 lakh a unit, he said.

Earlier in last month, Mahindra & Mahindra claimed to developed a sophisticated ventilator at just Rs 7,500.

Nocca Robotics co-founder Nikhil Kurele said the company has kept safety and security of health workers as a top-most priority while developing a ventilator specially to treat coronavirus patients.

"We found that when a virus-infected patient on a ventilator breathes out, he exhales air filled with virus loads. This exhaled air fills the ICU with coronavirus which is hazardous for health workers. In our ventilator we have made ultraviolet filter chambers, which kill viruses, and placed filters thereafter to free the exhaled air from viruses," Kurele said.

He said that doctors and medical professionals were taken on board to design the ventilator as per Indian requirements and to understand the challenges around coronavirus.

"We analysed 5-6 high-end ventilators that are mostly preferred by big hospitals but did not find filters in them to clear virus load. We found ventilators in use have not been designed to handle virus infection of this scale," Kurele said.

He said that the ventilator can be used both in ICU as well as ported out to handle patients in other locations like trains etc.

"It is portable. The ventilator can work for 4 hours on battery as well," Kurele said.

IIT Kanpur and Nocca Robotics have started testing the ventilators.

"From May 12, the testing will start in two Pune hospitals. These ventilators will also go through UL and TUV testings. This is critical medical equipment. Therefore testing and strong standards are of paramount importance. We expect it to be available either by end of May or first week of June. We expect to reach 10,000 units production by the end of July," Bandyopadhyaya said.

He said that if more demand comes then the production will be raised up to 30,000 units by August.

Nocca Robotics has also onboard Indian medical device makers Avi Healthcare and Polybond for the manufacturing of ventilators.

Besides, IIT Kanpur, an another IIT of Roorkee has also developed a low-cost portable ventilator called 'Prana-Vayu'. The ventilator developed in collaboration with AIIMS, Rishikeshcan be useful to ensure the survival of COVID-19 patients. Named as the closed-loop ventilator is developed, and is equipped with state-of-the-art features.

~ with major inputs from PTI

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