IIT Guwahati students develop low-cost intubation boxes

IIT Guwahati students' venture develops low-cost intubation boxes to shield doctors against COVID-19

IIT Guwahati students' venture has designed low-cost intubation boxes that promise to obstruct the flow of virus-laden droplets from COVID-19 positive persons to doctors, thereby reducing the chances of their infection.

The device will function as an aerosol obstruction box which is placed atop the patient bed on the head-side, limiting the flow of droplets from the patient to the doctor, especially during the process of intubation.

"As in the case of COVID-19, patients develop respiratory failure thus requiring assistance in the form of endotracheal intubation. Given the nature of this process, healthcare providers are at risk of contracting the virus via droplets either exhaled or coughed out by the patient," said a statement issued by IIT Guwahati on Thursday. 

It said the device was inspired by the design of Dr. Hsien Yung Lai, an anesthesiologist from Taiwan.

The box has been developed and designed by Mitochondrial, a student venture for medical innovation mentored by S. Kanagaraj and Sajan Kapil of the department of Mechanical Engineering. It is a low-cost alternative to intubation boxes and is easier to manufacture and deliver amid the lockdown. The projected cost of a box is about Rs. 2,000, which is significantly lower than alternatives, it said.

The team has received assistance from the DRDO for prototyping and testing at the Solid State Physics Laboratory, New Delhi. 

As opposed to other PPEs, this box works effectively for multiple doctors and nurses serving the patient. While the transparent material allows visual access to the head of the patient inside, the arm-holes on the box allow for the care-provider to perform any necessary tasks including intubation and extubation, which are both processes known to be cough inducing. Further, the boxes are reusable, as they may be cleaned thoroughly with 70% alcohol or bleach, to allow use for the next patient, the statement said.

"We feel that it is our responsibility to contribute to this fight against a global pandemic," Umang Mathur said.

The primary prototype of the design has been completed at DRDO, New Delhi, and the box is being reviewed in the field in major COVID-19 care centres, such as AIIMS, New Delhi.  Based on the feedback, the design will be further optimised for improved efficacy, before the first batch is manufactured in Gurgaon, Haryana, it said.