Genrich Membranes, a company based on proprietary technology licensed from CSIRNational Chemical Laboratory, Pune is being funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to scale up Membrane Oxygenator Equipment (MOE) that it has developed to treat COVID-19 patients. Based on innovative, indigenous hollow-fibre membrane technology, the MOE enriches oxygen in the air up to 35 percent under pressure (4-7 bar, using oil-free compressor).
The equipment consists of membrane cartridge, oil-free compressor, output flowmeter, humidifier bottle, nasal-cannula and tubing & fittings. The compressed, filtered air from the compressor is fed to the membrane cartridge, which selectively permeates oxygen over nitrogen offering oxygen-enriched air as the product at the ambient pressure. The membrane cartridge capable of distinguishing oxygen and nitrogen restricts the passage of viruses, bacteria and particulate matter. The product air is of medical grade. The device is safe, does not require trained manpower for its operation, needs minimum maintenance, is portable, compact and with plug-and-play facility provides on-site, quick-start oxygen-enriched air.
“Medical-grade oxygen-enriched air is needed in a variety of patient care settings including COVID-19 situations where the global experience is about 14 percent infections require some kind of respiratory support, but only about 4 percent need ICU based ventilators. The rest of this population, as well as in many other conditions involving chronic breathing problems, this innovation promises to be of excellent value”, said Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.
With an urgent requirement of respiratory interventions to treat breathlessness, one of the critical symptoms of COVID-19, the equipment can be used to treat patients who have been released from ICU. The device can also be helpful for patients suffering from chronic breathing problems like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma, Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), pre-term babies, snake bite, and so on. The testing and validation of the prototype have been demonstrated in a relevant environment and Genrich, supported by DST- National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) Seed Support System and incubated by Entrepreneurship Development Center, (Venture Centre), Pune, is planning to join hands with established medical device companies to mass manufacture MOE which can get this device ready, within three months.