As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the country, the Indian health sector is preparing to face a massive wave of patients with breathing troubles and flu symptoms. Agva Healthcare, a Noida based med-tech startup which has built the most economical ventilator is set to ramp up production and help hospitals cope with this sudden spurt of patients.
Speaking with Moneycontrol, Agva Healthcare founder Diwakar Vaish said that he was setting up the infrastructure to manufacture 12,000 units every month, from the current capacity of 150.
“I am increasing the labour force manifold, strengthening my production lines and revamping overall manufacturing infrastructure to be able to cater to the increased demand for these life support machines across public and private hospitals,” said Vaish.
There are already 600 such machines currently deployed across the country, now Vaish is aiming to quickly deploy around 20,000 of them in the short run. He has held consultations with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding how Agva ventilators can be deployed and they have asked for few changes to suit the needs of COVID-19 patients.
“We will get the changes incorporated and within 48 hours we are looking at getting orders from the government,” he said.
For the base model the device is priced at Rs 1.5 lakh which Vaish said is cheaper by five to eight times compared to the ones available in the market. He has also held talks with large private companies who have offered assistance in manufacturing of these ventilators.
Vaish, a robotics specialist has developed this device in association with AIIMS, New Delhi professor Deepak Aggarwal. Not only is the device cheap in comparison to others available in the market, Agva ventilators are compact and easy to be carried, thereby making it ideal for makeshift hospitals. The product awaits an US FDA approval, but adheres to the ISO 13485 standards which is meant for medical equipment.
Vaish’s efforts to scale up production have hit a roadblock given the lock down imposed across most of the states. He said that he relies on OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) for metal fabrication, packaging, 3D printing so that he can manufacture the final product. But given the government’s diktat such factories have largely shut down, hampering his plans. Even the rental cars that ferry his employees to the plant are facing disruptions given the complete lock down in the National Capital Region.
“Few of my colleagues who were travelling in order to source the products have also gotten stuck in those cities since domestic flights will stop as well, now I am not sure how to source materials for production,” he said.