Low-cost Portable Ventilator Developed by IIT Roorkee for the Indian Fight Against COVID-19

Pran Vayu Featured Image

The ongoing Corona virus disease outbreak, which has been labelled as pandemic, demands for extensive efforts by every individual as well as by different organizations. In this race against COVID-19, IIT Roorkee has developed a low-cost portable ventilator, named as “Prana-Vayu”.


What is a Ventilator?

A ventilator, also known as ‘breathing machine’ or respirator, is a device which facilitates or assists breathing in people who are unable to breathe by the normal physiological mechanism. In simple words, a ventilator gets oxygen into the lungs and removes carbon dioxide from the lungs.

It is usually used during surgeries, while the patient is under anesthesia, in patients who have difficulty in breathing, or the ones who have lost all ability to breath without support.


Ventilator Working Mechanism

Simply put, a ventilator uses pressure, called ‘positive pressure’ to blow air into the lungs, which causes inhalation, and provides the lungs with oxygen. A tube is used for this purpose, which is inserted into patient’s windpipe from one end and connected to the machine from the other. The inspired air is passed through humidifier which warms and moistens the air. The patient can either perform expiration of carbon dioxide containing air by himself, or the ventilator can perform this action as well in the patients unable to do so. Another setup uses respiratory mask instead of tube, which can be preferred according to the patient’s condition.

Visual representation of Intubation & Mechanical Ventilation

The amount of oxygen, the pressure of air and the flow of air can be adjusted according to the need of the patient. Also, the ventilator has an alarm system for alerting if there is any problem or change in the need of oxygen by the patient. All this can be managed from the monitor in the machine. Hence, the working of the machine and condition of the patient, both can be efficiently monitored. The above description is that of a simple ventilator and there are various modern types available today.


Role of Ventilator in COVID-19 disease

The Corona virus causes disease which has manifestations on the respiratory system, along with the involvement of other organ systems. These can be the most serious ones as well. All critical patients require ventilators.

The problem arises with the fact that COVID-19 is a highly infectious organism, which has infected a very large population in almost every part of the world in a very short time. The heavy patient load, which is increasing every minute, is possessing a major problem in containing and fighting the virus. There is a shortage of medical equipment including ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves. Also, modern ventilators are complex machines, difficult to operate and to transport.


‘PRANA-VAYU’ – for Indian race against COVID-19

IIT Roorkee, in collaboration with AIIMS Rishikesh, has developed a low-cost portable ventilator developed specially for COVID-19 patients, which can be a major breakthrough for India in this exceptional condition requiring exceptional actions. The research team from IIT Roorkee included Prof. Akshay Dvivedi, Prof. Arup Kumar Das and Dr Debendra Tripathi from AIIMS Rishikesh provided online support.

They started the research development during the lock-down period and in a very short time, their commendable hard work has resulted in development of a quick time technology which can reduce the burden the healthcare system is facing at the moment.

Prana Vayu Ventilator
Credits : IIT Roorkee

Prana-vayu is a closed-loop ventilator with state-of-the-art features. It is safe, reliable and can be manufactured in a very short time period. The ventilator is designed with an automated system which provides the required amount of air to the patient. The flow and pressure of the air to be inspired and expired, can be controlled automatically. The feedback feature of the ventilator can control tidal volume and breaths per minute.

It has safety features like real-time spirometry and alarms. In case of failure, the opening of circuit can prevent any risk of choking. It has additional features like control of moisture and temperature of air, remote monitoring by healthcare workers, touchscreen controls.

The ventilator has been tested for normal as well as patient-specific breathing conditions. It will be useful for a wide range of respiratory conditions, and also for all age groups, including the elderly as well as the infants. A major advantage provided by this model is that it does not require compressed air to work, and hence, can be used easily where open areas have been converted into isolation wards.

Commercial Details

The commercial product will have the following approximate dimensions : ‘1.5 feet × 1.5 feet’. This will allow easy portability. The manufacturing cost per ventilator is approximately Rs. 25,000.

Various manufacturing companies have already shown interest in Prana-Vayu. It will be of great use to tackle the pandemic and for this Indian race against COVID-19.


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About author

Anushree Tripathi

A medical student from Chirayu Medical College and Hospital, Bhopal. On constant lookout to share knowledge and provide answers related to the field of medicine.