BUET’s Oxyjet- Low Cost Ventilator Designed To Reduce Strain On ICUs

With the Indian Subcontinent suffering alot from COVID-19 due to lack of oxygen, a group of industrious engineers from The Department of Biomedical Engineering of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology has invented a low cost oxygen supply instrument called Oxyjet. Oxyjet reduces the cost of oxygen and is capable of producing 60 litres of oxygen per minute and that too without electricity as this device can be used  by connecting with an Oxygen Cylinder or Medical Oxygen line.

COVID-19 patients who suffer serious complications require more than the 15 Litre/min flow of oxygen that general hospital wards in our country provide and hence have to be moved to an ICU where  HFNC or C-PAP ventilators are used to produce high-flow oxygen. Such equipment are not used in general wards because of their high costs as an HFNC device can cost as high as $5000 and a C-PAP ventilator $1000 which many hospitals may find unaffordable to equip in their general wards. With a shortage in ICU beds and high costs mentioned above, an Oxyjet device can greatly ease the pressure on ICUs and hospitals as the device itself only costs around $20 and with all accessories a full set can cost up to $200.

Oxyjet is a C-PAP ventilator which uses the pressure of the medical oxygen source to generate a high-flow of air and oxygen mixture using the jet-mixing principle. Oxyjet can be manufactured simply with 3D printing, CNC machining and combining available components in the market. Variants of the device can provide up to 100 Litre/Min if necessary. Oxyjet uses  Non-vented C-PAP masks and HEPA filters to reduce aerosolization(Aerosolization is the process or act of converting some physical substance into the form of particles small and light enough to be carried on the air). The pressure settings on the machine can be changed using a PEEP valve with the minimum pressure being 5 cm H20 and the maximum being 20 cm H20. The pressure and flow characteristics of OxyJet are equivalent to existing CPAP devices and the technical evaluations meet the requirement of the UK-MHRA Rapidly Manufacturable CPAP systems (RMCPAPS) guideline.

Provisional data of ongoing clinical trials have shown that its efficacy is non-inferior to traditional high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) devices. However, OxyJet uses 30% less oxygen compared to HFNC devices for a similar clinical outcome. Oxyjet has passed Phase 1( healthy volunteers) and Phase 2( Non-COVID hypoxemic patients) successfully and has got approval from the National Research and Ethics Committee (NREC) of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC under the trial entitled “Safety and Efficacy Evaluation of a low-cost CPAP device for hypoxemic COVID-19 patients: A Pilot Study” (Reg# 35528102020). Oxyjet is currently undergoing Phase 3 of the Clinical Trials where a total of 40 patients with %SpO2 between 85- 90% are enrolled from DMCH who have failed to respond to 15L/m of oxygen. The device has also received media coverage from media outlets like BBC internationally.

The inventors have shown utmost selflessness by open sourcing the design of the machine. Once it passes Phase 3 of the trials, we hope that it is mass produced and sent to every low -medium tier hospital in Bangladesh and its neighbors once our needs have been met and reduce the pressure on ICUs.

You can read more about the design and evaluation of the device here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2106.00981.pdf

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