The University of Lagos (UNILAG)has begun research to provide solutions to the paucity of ventilators needed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos on Saturday.
He noted that the shortage of ventilators contributed much to the death of COVID-19 patients in many parts of the world.
Mr Ogundipe said the multi-disciplinary research team would be providing intervention at two levels.
”The first is the development of low-cost rapidly deployable Ambubag ventilators, while the second is the adaptation of already existing mechanical ventilators to accommodate up to 10 patients with provision for tubing splinter device.
”The development of the low-cost Ambubag ventilator has reached an advanced stage, and this will address the shortage of mechanical ventilators in the nation.
”It is a first-level “stop-gap” approach to quickly provide access to the much needed life-saving device,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the vice-chancellor, who inaugurated the team, said the university was positioned to provide critical support for the nation at critical times through research and innovative ideas.
Mr Ogundipe charged the group to rise up to the challenge and deliver on the task.
He noted that the group led by Hakeem Amuda, an Associate Professor of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and Deputy Director (Innovation) in the Research and Innovation Office of the institution, had reached an advanced stage in the development of a prototype of the Ambubag ventilator for the management of COVID-19 patients.
“A standard mechanical ventilator usually cost between $20,000 and $35,000 and is currently scarce all over the world, but the Ambubag ventilator being developed will cost around N300,000 to N350,000 each and can be made available in thousands when completed.
”Currently, the team has reached the level of integration and testing of the system, and once this is completed, the prototype will be made available to the public.
”The product is largely driven by local contents, and this will create value chain that will extend to some artisans in the country. The product will also be energy-efficient and back-up power will be provided.
”One of the salient aspects of this product is the safety assurance that it provides to patients. The product mimics the natural lungs; thus, guarantees that the lungs are protected when patients recover and are discharged.
This means that the lungs are not damaged or collapsed as a result of the pressure from the product in the long run. The necessary clinical parameters have been put into cognisance for efficacy.
He said that members on the team were drawn from the university’s Research and Innovation Office, Departments of Anaesthesia, Biomedical Engineering, Computer Sciences, and Physics and Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.
According to him, the Director of the Research and Innovation Office, Bola Oboh, had observed that beyond COVID-19, many low and middle-income countries hitherto unable to provide required mechanical ventilator support for patients with respiratory failure would be able to use the product.
“When completed, the university will be taking necessary steps to meet stakeholders to commence production of Ambubag ventilators.
”This is what the university is established for – to look for creative ways to solve societal problems.”