Local IT firm TigerIT has a real good news — it has been able to develop a prototype of low-cost ventilator.
The news comes at a time when Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the increasing number of Covid-19 patients with merely one hounded ICU ventilators.
The company claims it has been able to develop a prototype for a low-cost ventilator with hundred percent locally-sourced materials, offering hope in the country's fight against the pandemic.
"As ventilators are in short supply in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus in Bangladesh as well as in other countries, TigerIT has come forward to offer assistance through the production of this prototype," said Rashed Sarwar, head of business development at TigerIT Bangladesh Ltd.
"We have developed this prototype to make sure that a stock of ventilators is available during any emergency situation arising from growing numbers of coronavirus infections," said Sajjadul Hakim, vice president of Software & Services of TigerIT, who also leads the ventilator development team.
Md Redwan Hasan, mechatronics engineer, Software & Services, TigerIT, has also worked with the team relentlessly over the past few weeks to develop this prototype.
"It is a mechanical non-invasive ventilator. Similar to the ventilators that are in use throughout healthcare institutions, the ventilator we have produced can be a resource in the treatment of acute cases of Covid-19 and in that case other respiratory complications," Sajjadul Hakim added.
The design of the TigerIT prototype emulates a concept formulated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a private research university in Cambridge.
"This project is among various others we have been inspired to venture upon through the partnership we formed with the esteemed institution in 2019," said Rashed Sarwar.
Officials said the ventilator was manufactured here in Bangladesh and the materials needed for its production could be sourced locally.
As a result, these ventilator will be significantly affordable with their production cost of per unit ranging between Tk15,000 and Tk20,000.
Dr Mohammad Suhaib Akib, health tech researcher and physician at TigerIT, said, "We four doctors are also working closely with the ventilator project to ensure their accuracy."
"Now it is under the supervision other health practitioners," he added.
Officials said the design would be submitted to the Directorate General of Health for its approval within the next week.
Upon receiving the approval, TigerIT Bangladesh will put up 500 units of the ventilator as a donation and can produce more, if needed.
"We will also share the design, free of cost, with those interested in manufacturing it," said Rashed Sarwar.
A ventilator is a mechanical breathing device essential for patients suffering from breathing difficulties and respiratory problems. As Covid-19 is a virus that attacks the lungs, ventilators are essential to treat patients with severe symptoms.