The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a locally-produced ventilator in collaboration with a number of South African partners, and it is now being rolled out to hospitals nationwide.
The development forms part of the government’s National Ventilator Project (NVP) and is supported by the Solidarity Fund.
According to the CSIR, the first batch of ventilators will be provided to state hospitals around the country that are experiencing issues due to the unavailability of equipment to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
These ventilators are Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices that provide a mild level of oxygenated air pressure to keep the airways open and assist with breathing.
They are non-invasive and are able to be deployed and applied easily, making them effective at addressing the shortage of breathing apparatus across the country.
These ventilators will be applied within and outside of hospitals for intervention in cases where patients are at an early, not-intensive stage of respiratory distress caused by COVID-19.
This means the CSIR’s ventilators can be used in field hospitals and quarantine facilities as well as normal hospitals.
The CSIR said there are ongoing discussions with the Department of Health to produce additional devices before the end of August as data on the spread of the virus becomes available.
The organisation is also working on a Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure ventilator with a local partner to develop a solution for patients with more severe symptoms.
These would assist with both inhalation and exhalation, either in fixed pressure modes or by sensing the oxygen supply required by a patient and adjusting the pressure accordingly.
Photos of the locally-developed CPAP ventilators are shown below.