A team of researchers from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) has developed a medical oxygen supply technology that can ensure the high flow of oxygen to Covid-19 patients without any electricity supply.
In 10 months, the research team from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the engineering university has developed a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device called OxyJet to ensure high-flow ventilation at a low-cost.
Researchers said this device can be used by just connecting it to an oxygen cylinder or medical oxygen tube without any electricity. This easy-to-use device can easily be transported and so can be set up in rural areas.
The main goal of OxyJet is to provide oxygen to patients in general Covid-19 wards and reduce ICU admission. OxyJet mixes atmospheric air and oxygen based on the precision venturi jet mixing principle and generates a flow rate of about 60 litres/min.
With the help of medical oxygen supply and a dual flow-metre, the device can provide up to 100% FiO2 (fraction of inspired oxygen).
OxyJet has been tested byBuet,following the UK- MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) Rapidly Manufactured CPAP system guideline.
The fraction of inspired oxygen is the concentration of oxygen in the gas mixture. The gas mixture at room air has a fraction of inspired oxygen of 21%, meaning that the concentration of oxygen at room air is 21%.
Dr Taufiq Hasan, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Buet and the head of the research team, said, "Our goal was to create a simple device doctors can use with minimal training. OxyJetcan easily be usedfor patients in the hospital as well as at home."
"Secondly, there is a problem with the power supply in many hospitals in Bangladesh. For example, there is no electric outlet next to all the beds of Dhaka Medical.So, we thought of how to provide high flow oxygen at a low cost without electricity and that's how the concept of this device came. There are other technologies out there, but they are expensive," he added.
Vice Chancellor of Buet,Professor Satya Prasad Majumder, said, "We are optimistic about the way it is working. We will disclose the method for the good of the country and the nation so that everyone can benefit. We always encourage this type of innovation."
Buet sources said that with the approval of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC), the device has already successfully passed the first and second stages of the clinical trial and got permission for the third stage.
In the first stage of the clinical trial, the effectiveness of the device was tested by applying it to five healthy people. After its effectiveness was proved, in the second phase it was tested on five patients with oxygen deficiency (hypoxic) at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
In the second phase, OxyJet increased patients' oxygen level in the blood (oxygen saturation) by an average of 11.2% within one hour, as all patients' oxygen saturation level reached close to 100%.
Following the success of the second phase, the third phase of the clinical trial is going on at DMCH under the supervision of a team comprising representatives of Buet and DMCH.
In this phase, 20 patients will be treated with OxyJet and 20 with high-flow nasal cannulas to monitor the efficacy of OxyJet as an alternative to conventional treatment.
Line director at the Non-Communicable Disease Control at the Directorate General of Health Services, and former professor of medicine at DMCH, Dr Md Robed Amin, said that he was involved in the research when he was at DMCH.
"During the trial of the third phase, we have noticed that in many cases it is working even better than the high-flow nasal cannula. Moreover, the device is easy to use and portable," he said.
However, only after the successful completion of the third phase trial and the full approval of the BMRC, we can determine if it is suitable for use in all hospitals, he added.
Initially, the OxyJet project was funded by the Ankur International Foundation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Academy Establishment of the ICT Division of the Government of Bangladesh, and later by the Manusher Jonno Foundation and the Buet Alumni.
The OxyJet development team consists of Research Assistants Meemnur Rashid, Kaisar Ahmed Alman, Farhan Muhib, Lecturer Md Kawsar Ahmed, and Saeedur Rahman, under the supervision of Dr Taufiq Hasan of Buet's Department of Biomedical Engineering.
At the clinical trial level, six more individuals are engaged, including two full-time doctors.
It is worth mentioning that Buet is currently producing 50 more OxyJet devices on an emergency basis.
If the third-phase trial is successful, trials are planned for on a larger scale, in other hospitals in the country with the approval of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) and the DGHS.