SUNDAY SPECIAL |25.04.2021
IISc teams develop oxygen concentrators, ventilators
The groups also developed oxygen supply manifolds
- Smart device: The design evolved into a more sophisticated device that could sense when the patients were able to breathe on their own.
- With the setting in of the second wave of covid-19, there is round the corner, growth in the need for ventilators and related interventions.
- While hospital ICU beds do come with ventilators, makeshift ones will not be so, hence the need. Indian Institute of Science researchers have come up with several non-pharmaceutical interventions such as ICU ventilators, oxygen supply manifolds and oxygen concentrators which will each satisfy different sets of needs.
- In 2020, when the pandemic set in within India, Sushobhan Avasthi, Associate Professor with Centre for Nanoscience and Engineering and his team wanted to build low-cost ventilators.
- But as the project evolved, they realised that what was needed was a more sophisticated device that could sense when the patients were able to breathe on their own, and then wean them off gently so that they could become independent again. “In September we were ready with the D3 edition of smart ventilators that were good enough to be used in the ICU,” says Dr Avasthi.
- They teamed up with the company Vasmed with an aim to produce these ventilators for the market. “These would have cost about 1.5 lakh rupees,” says Anoop Varghese, COO of Vasmed, pegging the cost at approximately a third of the price of commercially available ones.
Oxygen concentrators: Why are they in demand, and how are they different from cylinders?
An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that concentrates oxygen from ambient air. Atmospheric air has about 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen, with other gases making up the remaining 1 percent.
The concentrator is among the most sought-after devices for oxygen therapy, especially among patients in home isolation and for hospitals running out of oxygen.
How does it work?
- An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that concentrates oxygen from ambient air. Atmospheric air has about 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen, with other gases making up the remaining 1 percent. The oxygen concentrator takes in this air, filters it through a sieve, releases the nitrogen back into the air, and works on the remaining oxygen.
- This oxygen, compressed and dispensed through a cannula, is 90-95 percent pure. A pressure valve in concentrators helps regulate supply, ranging from 1-10 liters per minute.
- According to a 2015 report by the WHO, concentrators are designed for continuous operation and can produce oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for up to 5 years or more.
How are concentrators different from oxygen cylinders and LMO?
- Oxygen concentrators are the easiest alternatives to cylinders but can only supply 5-10 litres of oxygen per minute (critical patients may need 40-50 litres per minute) and are best suited for moderately ill patients.
- Concentrators are portable and unlike LMO that needs to be stored and transported in cryogenic tankers, need no special temperature. And unlike cylinders that require refilling, concentrators only need a power source to draw in ambient air.
Mini black hole
- Scientists have discovered what may be the smallest known black hole in the Milky Way galaxy and the closest to our solar system.' Nicknamed ‘Unicorn’ the researchers said the black hole is roughly three times the mass of our Sun, testing the lower limits of size for these extraordinarily dense objects.
- A luminous red giant star orbits with the black hole in a so-called binary star system named V723 Mon.
- The study is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
- NASA has extracted oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the thin Martian atmosphere.
- The unprecedented extraction of oxygen on Mars was achieved by a device called MOXIE aboard Perseverance, a six-wheeled science rover.
- MOXIE is short for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. It produced about 5 grams of oxygen, equivalent to roughly 10 minutes’ worth of breathing for an astronaut.
- This is the first extraction of a natural resource from the environment of another planet.
SOURCE: THE HINDU