ITB is Developing Portable Ventilator Device for COVID-19 Patients

By Adi Permana

Editor -

*Dr. Syarif, trying the ventilator at Salman Mosque of ITB. (Photo: private document)

BANDUNG, - Currently, the world is facing a pandemic called Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). As of April 2020, more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in 204 countries and territories worldwide based on data from In Indonesia, until 2 April 2020, there were 1,790 confirmed cases and it increases by time. The soaring number of patients infected with COVID-19 has caused hospitals in Indonesia facing problems such as lack of medical devices and medical staffs to fight against the virus.

Amid fears of increasing COVID-19 confirmed cases, the availability of medical devices are important. When a person cannot breathe on their own or maintain an open airway, they may require intubation and the use of a ventilator.  Intubation is the process of inserting a breathing tube through the mouth and into the airway. A ventilator—also known as a respirator or breathing machine—is a medical device that provides oxygen through the breathing tube. At this moment, hospitals are already running out of ventilators and the price is increasing amid high demand of medical devices.

By those facts, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) with YPM Salman ITB and Faculty of Medicine at Padjadjaran University are developing a ventilator that can be used easily by medical staffs. Head of the team, Dr. Syarif Hidayat, lecturer at School of Electrical and Informatics Engineering (STEI), is currently developing a prototype of an emergency ventilator called Vent-I (Ventilator Indonesia). Syarif Hidayat is also the supervisor of YPM Salman ITB has been asked to explain the ventilator development plan by video conference with Deputy Minister of SOEs (Wakil Menteri BUMN).

"Vent-I is a breathing machine for patients who can still breathe on their own. This device is not intended for ICU patients," said Jam'ah Halid as LPP Salman Manager who also participated in development of Vent-I.

The Vent-I prototype had been presented to senior doctors from Faculty of Medicine Unpad. It also included the demonstration of Vent-I. There were three functions demonstrated called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), CPC (Continuous Pressure Control), and SPC (Synchronize Pressure Control). "This meeting was our third meeting and they strongly supported the development of Vent-I. They suggested to develop the CPAP function first because currently it is needed for COVID-19 patients," Jam'ah explained.

CPAP works by blowing air into the throat via a mask, subtly increasing air pressure in the throat and preventing the airway from narrowing. The machine offers several benefits, such as reduced daytime fatigue, improved focus, lower blood pressure, and lower risk of heart disease and other medical conditions. This devices are for patients who experience shortness of breath but still can breathe by themselves. Ministry of Health assigned BPFK (Health Facilities Security Center) to conduct a series of tests for Vent-I. The initial target of Vent-I Team is produce 100 Vent-I as a donation project to hospitals in Indonesia.

Reporter: Qinthara Silmi Faizal
Translator: Billy Akbar Prabowo