Moneycontrol PRO
Open App
you are here: HomeNewsIndia

Automobile manufacturers asked to make ventilators: Health Ministry

According to the health ministry, over 14,000 existing ventilators are earmarked for COVID-19 patients in various hospitals of the country, while there are 11.95 lakh N-95 masks in stock.

March 30, 2020 / 10:54 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

The Centre has asked automobile manufacturers to use their facilities to make ventilators in order to increase the availability of such machines in view of rise in COVID-19 cases, officials said on Monday.

It also said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will start manufacturing 20,000 N-95 masks daily from next week.

According to the health ministry, over 14,000 existing ventilators are earmarked for COVID-19 patients in various hospitals of the country, while there are 11.95 lakh N-95 masks in stock.

An additional 5 lakh masks have been distributed in the past two days. As many as 1.40 lakh masks were distributed on Monday, it said.

The ministry also said 3.34 lakh personal protection equipment (PPE) coveralls are available with hospitals in the country and another 3 lakh, which have been donated, will be received from abroad by April 4.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more

"Automobile manufacturers have been asked to manufacture ventilators and they are working towards this end," the health ministry said in a tweet.

Besides, the ministry has asked the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Defence, to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in the next two months in collaboration with local manufacturers.

Among the private players, Agva Healthcare in Noida has been given an order to manufacture 10,000 ventilators within a month. Their supplies are expected to commence in the second week of April, the ministry said.

In the meantime, orders have been placed with international companies such as Hamilton, Mindray and Draeger to supply ventilators, it said.

The Ministry of External Affairs is also approaching suppliers in China for sourcing 10,000 ventilators from them, it said in a statement.

Ventilators are required for COVID-19 patients, as they tend to develop acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS).

Two domestic manufacturers are producing 50,000 N-95 masks per day. This is expected to go up to 1 lakh daily within the next week as they are ramping up their production capacities, the health ministry said.

The DRDO is collaborating with local manufacturers to produce around 20,000 such masks daily. These is also expected to become available in a week's time, it said in a statement.

The health ministry also said that 11 domestic producers of PPE coveralls have qualified so far and orders for 21 lakh coveralls have been placed. These are supplying 6,000-7,000 pieces per day and are expected to go up to 15,000 pieces daily by mid-April.

It further said that 10,000 PPE coveralls donated by Red Cross have been received and distributed on Monday.

"Less than 20 COVID-19 patients are on ventilator support at this moment. As against this, over 14,000 ventilators have been identified in various hospitals across the country for treatment of such patients," the ministry said.

"The first challenge before us is to increase the number of ventilators... we need to be equipped and have manpower which can use these machines," a senior health ministry official said, adding several doctors and healthcare professionals even at district levels are being provided training by AIIMS doctors on ventilator management for COVID-19 patients.

Foreign sources of PPE kits are also faced with a huge increase in the worldwide demand. They are being approached through the Ministry of External Affairs, according to the health ministry statement.

A Singapore-based online platform has been identified which can supply 10 lakh PPE kits and an order has been placed through the MEA to procure them. Ten lakh masks would be part of the PPE kits being sourced from Singapore.

Another supplier based in South Korea, which has tie ups with production companies in Vietnam and Turkey has been identified with daily production capacity of over 1 lakh PPE kits. Orders are being placed with this company for supplying 20 lakh PPE kits, the health ministry said.

"Personal protection equipment (PPE) kits are used by medical personnel working in isolation areas and intensive care units to protect them from getting infected. They were not being manufactured in the country.

"With the prospect of huge requirement of PPEs arising in the near future, the Government of India made proactive efforts to promote their manufacturing in the country," the health ministry said.
first published: Mar 30, 2020 10:46 pm
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark