Now Indian hospitals need no longer depend on imported ventilators for critical care of its patients. ‘Inventa', India's first indigenous critical care ventilator, has started rolling out of Coimbatore.

A joint project of the Society for Bio-Medical Technology (SBMT), a division of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), National Institute for Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, and the PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, ‘Inventa' is gaining entry into Indian hospitals, albeit slowly.

The ventilator, manufactured by a Coimbatore-based firm, can be used by patients admitted to Intensive Care Units and all those who require assisted breathing.

“The work, which began in 2003, has borne fruit and commercial production has begun. The first lot of 100 units has been sold out. It is a fully indigenous product that is sleek, portable and cost-effective,” W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller of Research and Development, DRDO, said here on Monday.

As against the imported ventilators, which cost approximately Rs.13 lakh, the indigenous version costs Rs.4.5 lakh. With the country's annual requirement being 2,000 units, it is expected that mass production of ‘Inventa' will address this need in the most cost-effective manner.

Speaking to The Hindu, P. V. Mohan Ram, Principal Investigator, ‘Design and Development of Indigenous Critical Care Medical Ventilator', PSG College of Technology, said the SBMT approached the college to submit a proposal for a ventilator that was initially proposed for use by soldiers working at high-altitudes.

“In 2003, we came out with a bench model. The SBMT suggested changes and based on these a prototype of a ventilator was designed with the help of medical advice from NIMHANS. The final prototype and its operation were shown to SBMT in 2007. It was approved and accordingly the technology transfer was made to Pricol Medical Systems Limited here,” Mr. Mohan Ram said.

When the DRDO found the final prototype suitable for medical use, ethical clearance was obtained from Drug Controller General of India before handing it over for commercialisation.

The first 100 units have been procured by government hospitals and medical colleges. Since it is a viable product, the DRDO is seeking patronage of Central and State governments for promoting its use.

“We are approaching the Director-General Armed Forces Medical Services for using the ventilator in military hospitals and government officials for installing them in Government hospitals,” Mr. Selvamurthy said.

Since the design of ‘Inventa' has been a success, the PSG College of Technology has been entrusted with the project of developing paediatric ventilators too. These are for critical care of premature babies and children.

According to Mr. Selvamurthy, the first prototype will be ready for demonstration in June 2011.