Efforts to relieve a surge in COVID-19 cases in India will see 100 non-invasive breathing aids sent to the country as part of the UK government’s shipment of emergency supplies.
The UCL-Ventura breathing aid is part of over 600 devices including ventilators and oxygen concentrators being sent to India, which recorded over 350,000 new cases on April 26, 2021.
According to the Foreign Office, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to India this week.
In a statement, Professor Rebecca Shipley, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, said: “I’m immensely proud of the UCL-Ventura team and indebted to our logistics partner, G-TEM, who after receiving the call on Saturday morning, arranged for the shipment to be sent with the government’s emergency supplies to India’s worst hit areas.
“In the last year we have built partnerships in countries across the world, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to support the global COVID-19 response.”
Following the shipment of the first 100 devices, the team is ready to send more to India to help support the fight against COVID-19 and support hospitals in the region.
The surge in cases has come at the same time as a severe shortage of medical oxygen in some areas. The oxygen concentrators will help efforts to treat patients by extracting oxygen from the air in the atmosphere, taking the strain off hospital oxygen systems and allowing oxygen to be provided where hospital oxygen supplies have run out.
The UCL-Ventura is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, which is non-invasive and helps to keep patients off mechanical ventilators. Furthermore, it can be produced quickly and is easy to use.
Engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG HPP worked with clinicians at UCLH to reverse engineer CPAPs during the UK’s first lockdown. According to UCL, it took less than 100 hours from the initial meeting in March 2020 to production of the device. Since their mass manufacture, use of mechanical ventilation in UK hospitals has fallen by 26 per cent and intensive care stay has halved for survivors.
The plans and details required to make the device were also made available for manufacturers to download at no cost. Within 48 hours, nearly 700 requests to access the information had been approved for manufacturers, non-profits, health experts and research institutes in 25 countries.
The UCL-Ventura team has worked with charities including the International Medical Education Trust (IMET2000) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) to support distribution and manufacture around the world. Around 3,000 components of the kit have been delivered to countries by G-TEM.