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Toyota Kenya develops bridge mechanical ventilator

Toyota Kenya has developed a bridge mechanical ventilator prototype to help support patients with Covid-19 respiratory failure.

According to Toyota Kenya managing director Arvinder Reel, the firm had taken up the call by President Uhuru Kenyatta for companies to come up with easy to deploy local solutions in the battle to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is recognised that the surge in Covid-19 is requiring extraordinary measures that include the provision of mechanical ventilator support to keep pace with clinical need at our healthcare facilities. Once given the necessary approvals, Toyota Kenya will be able to develop up to 20 Bridge Mechanical Ventilator per day,” said Mr Reel.

According to the New York Times, “bridge” ventilators, or automatic resuscitators in the US are currently priced at Sh330,000 ($3,300″.

“They are mainly meant to help less critically ill patients breathe. If patients become sicker, with lung function more compromised by the disease, they still need to be placed on standard ventilators, which typically cost more than Sh3,000,000 ($30,000),” reports the NYT.

The bridge mechanical ventilator by Toyota Kenya makes use of an Ambu bag, where a doctor or a medical practitioner squeezes the bag by hand to push air into the lungs of the patient.

Mr Reel says that the ventilator support needs of a Covid-19 patient can range from simple BIPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) for patients that are breathing spontaneously to mandatory ventilation in either a pressure-support or volume control mode.

“Additionally, these patients are very likely to require inspired oxygen concentrations (FiO2) in excess of the 21% contained in room air. When in operation, the bridge mechanical ventilator indicates to the operator; the current settings that could include inspiratory pressure, tidal volume estimate, frequency; and the current delivery for instance inspiratory pressure or respiratory rate,” Mr Reel said.