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IIT Hyderabad moots bag valve mask as alternative to ventilators

They estimate that it can be manufactured for less than Rs 5000, or one-hundredth the cost of a conventional machine.

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Hyderabad, March 30 : Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad Director Prof. B.S. Murty has mooted the idea of using a ‘bag valve mask’ as an alternative to ventilators to meet any surge in demand, both in India and other countries, to treat COVID-19 patients.

While the conventional ventilators are expensive, hard to produce, and not portable, bag valve masks are small devices, which are used to deliver breathing support in emergency situations that are inexpensive, easy to produce and portable, said Prof. B.S. Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad and Prof. V. Eswaran, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, IIT Hyderabad.

A bag valve mask, often called ‘Ambu Bag’ is used for resuscitation in emergency situations.

The professors note that while ‘bag valve masks’ are currently hand-powered and therefore not suitable for continuous use as a ventilator, it would be easy to design a similar device powered by an electrical source, which could be a car battery, apart from the conventional power supply. It could be made portable, and therefore adopted in villages and other areas without power supply and be inexpensive enough to manufacture in bulk.

They estimate that it can be manufactured for less than Rs 5000, or one-hundredth the cost of a conventional machine.

“The cost of manufacturing 6 million of these devices will be probably less than that of the inadequate number of 60,000 conventional machines. The cost is so low that it can be considered a single-use device that will be given over to single patient, and never used again. It needs to be manufactured, however, on an industrial scale, in millions, within a short time of a few months. There have been several designs proposed within India itself, with IIT Hyderabad having at least one proposed design,” they said.

They proposed that the government constitute a task force, which will carry out the tasks needed to start the production of low-cost ventilators within a maximum time-frame of two months.

The most sophisticated computer-controlled ventilators cost around Rs. 40 lakh while more modest foreign-made ones cost around Rs. 15 lakh with Indian-made ventilators costing around Rs. 6 lakh.

It is estimated that there are around 40,000 ventilators in India at present, mostly in the private hospitals. The Indian industry has a maximum manufacturing capacity of approximately 6,000 units per month, but even the Indian-made devices use a lot of foreign-made parts whose availability would now be uncertain, when every country would be maximizing their own ventilator production.

The professors said that assuming a low 6 per cent infection rate, in case COVID-19 continues to spread in India, in the Indian population of 1.3 billion, that would mean that around 80 million people would get affected. “Of these 80 million, at least 5 per cent (4 million patients) would require ventilators. Each of these 4 million patients would need the ventilators for around 21 days, thereby blocking that machine for at least that amount of time.”

Further, the machines are not portable and are found only in high-end hospitals in large cities, so patients from villages would need to be transported to these cities, which would be a logistics problem of unimaginable complexity. It is quite clear that even a mild 6 per cent Stage-3 would overwhelm the country’s capacity to a devastating degree. Even if the Indian industry was at peak production, it could manufacture only another 60,000 machines in the next 10 months, at a cost of Rs. 3,600 crore.

Health

What’s in your back-to-work kit?

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As India enters Unlock 1.0, there appears a glimmer of normalcy with phased openings of workplaces and establishments.

As we ease back into life and work, with the cautious acceptance of our coexistence with coronavirus, our government and employers are expected to take additional precautions to safeguard our workspaces and health. Yet, the onus also lies on each of us to stay vigilant and cautious.

To ensure employee safety, the government has set some directives for workplace safety. They have stated that staggered work/business hours shall be followed in offices. Workplaces will also have to provide provisions for thermal scanners, hand wash and sanitisers at all entry and exit points. They have asked for sanitisation of the entire workplace, common places and all points that come into human contact alongside ensuring social distancing between two employees to name a few.

Despite these precautionary measures, each one of us needs to be vigilant and take responsibility for our own well-being. Hence, it is important to create a ‘back to work office kit’ that will help you remain safe and leave the workspace hygienic for others as well.

Angad Ahluwalia, Senior Manager, Corporate Communication, Bioplus Healthcare, makers of WHO recommended formula for surface and hand sanitiser, SterloMax says: “It is imperative to keep an office kit ready before you head out and go back to work. These simple measures keep you and others around you safe. The most important aspect, of course, will be a desktop and a to-go sanitiser. But ensure that you also have other protective equipment such as gloves, mask, wipes as well.”

Here are some essentials that you should have in your back to work kit:

Alcohol-based sanitiser: It is imperative that the sanitiser contains either 75 per cent Isopropyl Alcohol or 80 per cent Ethanol for effectively killing germs like Covid-19. This hand rub formula for sanitisers was published by WHO in March 2020. If you are unable to find any of the above formulations, ensure that there is at least 60 per cent alcohol in your sanitiser. Sanitisers need to be manufactured under a government issued drug license.

Surface disinfectant: Despite the office doing a deep cleaning of the office space, carry a surface disinfectant to wipe your desk. Dilute the 75 per cent alcohol-based sanitiser with water in 1:1, ratio and wipe your stationary, electronics and other surfaces such as railings, door knobs, toilets, and car door handles. Ensure that you use a surface disinfectant manufactured under Government issued Drug License and tested by Gas Chromatography as per Indian Pharmacopoeia.

Masks: Wear a mask at all times when you leave home. The masks that offer good protection are the 8210, 9210 and N95 masks, but they may be tough to find in this scenario. In such a case, use a cotton mask. Before wearing the mask, clean your hands with a sanitiser or soap and then put it on. Try looking for a mask that has NIOSH written on it as that would be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Gloves: Gloves become a subconscious reminder to not touch one’s face. Use gloves that are either made from nitrite, because they resist chemicals. However, if those aren’t available, you can also use latex or rubber. Try using gloves that reach your wrists as you may rest your hands on a table while typing or writing. If these are hard to find, a regular pair of plastic gloves will also work.

Cutlery and Stationery: It is advisable for employees to carry their own cutlery, like plates, spoon and coffee mugs. Do not borrow or lend your Stationery to anyone else. Try keeping them in a closed box or inside a drawer so they don’t come in contact with contaminated surfaces. But, if you have to lend your stationary, please sanitise them before and after uses.

Sanitising Wipes: Always carry a packet of sanitizing wipes with you. Use them to access high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, switches, taps, faucets etc.

Aarogya Setu App: Download the Aarogya Setu app will help in determining if you are coming close to someone who is infected. This will ensure safety for you as well as your co-workers.

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N95 or cotton masks? The fashion wars begin

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N-95 mask

New Delhi, June 4 : As people start stepping out of their houses, the demand for face masks and protective gear is at an all-time high.

While N95 and surgical masks are most popular, cloth masks have proven to be equally effective and are fashionable. They are soft, comfortable and flexible while providing ample coverage to the nose and mouth.

They offer features such as triple-layer filtration, leakage control (to prevent an unfiltered airflow), ultra-cool technology and protection from pollution, pollen, smoke and dust.

Moreover, these masks are washable and can be re-used. While specialized masks (N95/surgical) have seen a surge in demand, the Indian government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also issued an advisory on usage of cloth masks or homemade mask as an approved option to contain the spread.

All major fashion brands like Louis Phillippe, Jack & Jones, Max and W for Women have started making cloth masks and selling them online. Amazon Fashion has launched a dedicated mask store offers that offers over 500 cloth masks from over 35 sellers across the country. You can also find masks made by local sellers like Wear Your Opinion, Bon Organik, Rapsodia among others.

Here are a few recommended options if you are in search of a mask that suits your fashion needs.

Printed

Print on print is always in fashion and these soft masks are available in tropical, geometric and quirky styles.

Floral

Soothing floral designs in subtle pastels are perfect for everyday wear and are feminine

Checks & Stripes

Masks in muted checks and stripes are ideal to wear to work they keep the look professional along with being functional.

Monotone

Pick from a range of bright, bold and solid coloured masks, one for every day of the week

(Puja Gupta can be contacted at [email protected])

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Cities

Containment Zones in Delhi jump to 163

The total number of containment zones in the national capital has jumped to 163 on Thursday with 59 zones de-contained so far, the Delhi government said

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The total number of containment zones in the national capital has jumped to 163 on Thursday with 59 zones de-contained so far, the Delhi government said.

Till Monday, there were 147 containment zones in the city.

Among all the districts, the highest 30 are from the North district, while 29 from the South-West.

The South East district has 17 containment zones while the South districts has 16 zones. Among those having the least zones is the North-East district with four containment zones. Nine containment zones are in the East district.

The New Delhi district has 10 zones. The North-West district has 14 containment zones.

The Central district has seven zones while Shahdara district has eight zones. The West district has 19 containment zones so far, total 59 zones have been de-contained, as per the data shared by the Delhi government on Thursday — highest 12 from the West district.

The COVID cases in the national capital has crossed 23,000 mark on Wednesday.

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