Central regions | Technology & innovation

Russian mobile oxygen generator to save Covid-affected lungs

3 Jul '20
Russian biophysicists have created a compact device to help people with respiratory failure, provoked by COVID-19. A portable generator enriches normal atmospheric air with oxygen, which the patient inhales through a mask.

You can control the composition of the gas mixture yourself using sensors. The device itself weighs like a mobile phone and can run on batteries, which makes it possible to carry it with you, to take on the road. Scientists are confident that the mobility and compactness of such a device will make it a good alternative to inpatient treatment. The development will be useful even after defeating the coronavirus: it will help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Breathe without a balloon

COVID-19 often leads to respiratory failure. Many infected people require constant oxygen therapy to maintain the vital functions of the body. Now such treatment is carried out in a hospital: either with the help of bedside breathing apparatus, or, in severe cases, using ventilation systems.

Russian experts from the NTI Competence Center for New and Mobile Source Technologies at the Institute of Chemical Physics Problems (IPCP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences are developing unique mobile electrochemical generators of hyperoxic gas mixtures (hyperoxia is a condition that occurs as a result of excess oxygen intake or an individual part of it. - Izvestia ), Which will become an alternative to hospital therapy. This publication was told in the Russian venture company.

As one of the main developers of the device explained, the director of the Institute of High-Temperature Electrochemistry of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (the institute is a member of the consortium of the NTI Competence Center) Maxim Ananyev, the generator is compact and mobile. Such a device can operate both on batteries and on a network adapter; it does not require oxygen cylinders and stationary power supply.
- Portable generators of hyperoxic mixtures can be an alternative to stationary oxygen therapy, the scientist explained. - The basis of his work is an electrochemical cell (a device used to conduct electrochemical reactions) on an oxygen-conducting ceramic electrolyte (a substance that conducts electric current).
Directly from the air

The hyperoxic mixture necessary for patients with pulmonary insufficiency (in this case, 2440% O2) is obtained directly from the air using an electrochemical pump. It enriches the gas flow through the mask with oxygen. According to Maxim Ananyev, there is no fundamental difficulty in using the device, therefore, the diseased COVID-19 will be able to conduct therapy on their own at home.
- The electrochemical cell is absolutely safe, since it cannot pump anything but oxygen, the expert explained. - Its work is well regulated by the superimposed current, thereby it is possible to set the necessary level of saturation quite flexibly. The concentration of O2 at the output is measured using a miniature sensor.
The main advantage of this generator is its compactness. Together with the strapping required for the operation of the electrochemical cell, the mass of the device will be comparable to the weight of the mobile phone.
- This will be a real gift for patients with respiratory failure, said therapist Anton Rubtsov. - Now foreign oxygen concentrators are on the market, but they are the size of a radiator and require special professional service. The new device, apparently, will be easier and easier to operate.
From prototype to implementation

As experts said, today the electrochemical cell, which allows to saturate the gas flow with oxygen, has been tested in the form of a prototype. The prototype device has shown its effectiveness. When organizing mass production, the price of a mobile generator of hyperoxic mixtures will fluctuate within a few thousand rubles.
- With a new coronavirus infection, severe forms of respiratory failure can develop, in the treatment of which gas mixtures are also used for oxygen support, said an infectious disease specialist, an employee of the Scientific Clinical Department of the AIDS Center and International Training Center -Methodological Center of Human Virology, Medical Institute of RUDN University Elena Belova. - Usually it is a rather complicated system with gas cylinders. However, you should wait for the data on this device to appear and make any forecasts based on it.
Now the device being developed must undergo a complex examination: toxicological tests and clinical studies. According to Stanislav Otstanov, deputy head of the laboratory for analysis of indicators of population health and digitalization of healthcare at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the device is promising for the Russian market.
- If the whole set of measures for evaluating the effectiveness and safety shows decent results, such a mobile technology will be in demand by various elements of the healthcare system, the specialist believes.
How developers say that if all stages of the tests are passed, a mobile electrochemical generator of hyperoxic mixtures will be useful even after defeating the coronavirus for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary insufficiency.
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