Kochi-based startup innovates compact COVID-specific ventilator

The ventilator has been named Jeeva Vayu-50, or JV-50.

At a time when reports are rife about a spike in the number of COVID-19 patients needing ventilator support and ICU care, a Kochi-based startup has started commercial production of a cost effective and compact Covid-specific ventilator at the Technology Business Incubator (TBI) of the Kalady-based Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering and Technology.

The ventilator has been named Jeeva Vayu-50, or JV-50.

Having turned its focus to biomedical products during the first wave of the pandemic, the startup, Machbee Innovations Private Limited, has since developed three variants of the ventilator, each a refined version of the previous one. While they had multiple partners in the beginning, the latest redesigned version was developed solely by the startup.

“The latest version is far more compact and portable and weighs only around 6-7kg unlike the previous model, which was far too bulky. We have redesigned the mechanical system making it more easier to operate with just three control systems – breath per minute, inhalation/exhalation ratio and tidal volume. The automated ambu bag means that the patient can breath with the help of the ventilator mask alone while the system can also be attached to an oxygen cylinder if need be,” said Rahul Mohan, CEO, Machbee Innovations Private Limited.

The redesigned product was calibrated and approved by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

Pricing, at ₹50,000, remains a major USP of the product while quality ventilators are priced between ₹7 lakh and ₹14 lakh in the market. The product has evoked good response and has already been supplied to a Bengaluru-based voluntary organisation for donation to primary health centres and primary health centres and the Government General Hospital in Ernakulam.

“We have also supplied five pieces to the United Nations and multiple units to various other agencies. We have the capacity to produce 300 ventilators in a month, which can be doubled in the event of an emergency,” said Mr. Mohan.

It is also learnt that the State government has placed a bulk order with the startup though they were reluctant to confirm it.

While the ventilator has been labelled Covid-specific, there is also a redesigned model which can also be tweaked to serve as pediatric ventilator and also for Sleep Apnea-related breathing disorders. The automated ambu bag makes it compatible with ambulances and even in households with specific purposes.

While the initial model was developed in three weeks with the financial assistance of ₹1.50 lakh of Adi Shakara TBI, the startup invested another ₹3 lakh to fine tune and redesign it.

“We are also in discussions with the Indian Institute of Science, which has developed a model of oxygen concentrator and is now in discussions with companies and institutions for technology transfer,” said Mr. Mohan.


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