The Intelligent Positive Air Pressure Machine
The affordable breathing assistance device for COVID-19 and beyond.
The COVID-19 crisis has dramatically changed the realities of our world today. While much of the current attention to COVID-19 response has been focused on tertiary care hospital systems, the reality looks very different for patients in low-income countries.
Even as countries like the US and India are scrambling to innovate workarounds for critical medical devices and ramp up production capacity, there is a significant gap in meeting the needs of the developing world. In these contexts, patients only have access to primary health clinics where resources and skilled health workers are in short supply.
Delays in mobilizing resources for these regions could result in devastating consequences for the global impact of COVID-19.
The Problem: Ventilators developed for high-income country settings will not help low-income countries.
Among the key device innovations needed to begin addressing this gap are low-cost ventilators. There has been extensive media coverage of the global shortage of ventilators, but in all the noise, the concept of what defines a “ventilator” has been oversimplified to address a very narrow focus in specific countries.
Most innovations are focusing on only one component of the full system needed (air compression), ignoring complex nuances like oxygen-enrichment. These solutions are targeted towards patients who are in advanced stages of the COVID-19 disease progression. Between existing devices and these recent innovations, there is still a major gap in the types of devices needed, particularly for patients needing assistance in the earlier stages of the COVID-19 progression.
Furthermore, virtually none of the existing ventilator systems or new innovations are designed for a low-capacity primary care clinic system, which is where the vast majority of COVID-19 patients will seek care. Key among these are (i) extreme affordability; (ii) turnkey/ease-of-use; (iii) the need to be non-invasive (via endotracheal intubation).
Our Solution: The Intelligent Positive Air Pressure Machine
The main clinical respiratory support needs for COVID-19 patients are:
Onsite oxygen concentrators with closed-loop control mechanisms which monitor oxygen saturation, prevent oxygen toxicity, and operate with intermittent power.
An enhanced BiPAP (bi-level positive air pressure) device for patients in need of a higher level of oxygen and some mechanical breathing support.
The Intelligent Positive Air Pressure (iPAP) machine is an integrated device that includes these functionalities for $500 per base model. It is an ideal device to address Stage Four COVID patients.
This low-cost intervention will address the needs of the vast majority of patients that will be infected with COVID-19 in developing countries and are able to be administered by a nurse or a community health worker, making it an ideal technology to be deployed in primary health care centers.
ITT is developing two versions of this intervention - an in-clinic assembly “plug and play” model, composed of off-the-shelf approved devices and assembled on the ground, and a fully integrated from scratch device.
ITT has partnered with the Global Development Incubator to effectively bring this product to market and scale in emerging countries. The initiative will be supported by an advisory panel consisting of renowned experts in public health and COVID-19 response, practicing clinicians from target countries, as well as medical device companies at the forefront of the global response.
ITT is well into the process of securing funding, working with a prototype, and going through exercises to market validate both versions of our oxygen solution at this point. Our hope is that by June-July of 2020, we are selling the iPAP product directly to ministries of health or closing intermediary agreements.
The immediate next steps will be continuing to secure funding to implement clinical tests and trials on the ground, and ensure we are meeting the FDA protocol and process implementation guidelines.