In 2017, Dr Mohammod Jobayer Chisti came up with an innovative use of shampoo bottles to save babies from pneumonia. In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune’s Nawaz Farhin Antara, the inventor of this low cost device, Dr Chisti, a senior scientist at icddr,b, said the low cost Bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device is awaiting approval of the research review committee of icddr,b, before it is used as a ventilator alternative for adult Covid-19 patients
How can your invention of low cost ventilators be useful in Covid-19 treatment?
Children under five who are admitted with Covid-19, having severe pneumonia and hypoxemia (SpO2<90%), can be put under the support of our Bubble CPAP. They will hopefully benefit from it, as evidence has shown that our locally made BCPAPs were associated with 75% reduction of mortality compared to the WHO standard low flow oxygen therapy.
How many hospitals are currently offering low cost ventilator services for children using your invention?
At this moment, it is implemented in our Dhaka icddr,b hospital. We were supposed to start using it in Narsingdi and Kurigram district hospitals last April, but were unable to do so because of the Covid-19 crisis. However, we are expecting to start using the innovative device at those locations by the end of this year. It has already been tested in four hospitals in Ethiopia and is expected to be used in 12 more hospitals there, soon.
Do you think your new innovation can overcome the ventilator crisis in Bangladesh in this Covid-19 situation? Will your innovation help treat Covid-19 patients?
Our innovative low cost bubble CPAP has been validated for children by the World Health Organisation. It has recommended the use of bubble CPAP for the treatment of Covid-19 affected children under five with severe pneumonia and hypoxemia on the basis of our trial, including a trial in Ghana, where beneficial effects were found.
With the coronavirus situation in mind, have you modified this invention?
Since most Covid-19 affected patients requiring oxygen support are adults, we have just adapted our innovative low cost bubble for adults by modifying the design of the nasal interface. It will be tested for the safety of patients in our hospital, once it is approved by the research review committee and the ethical review committee of icddr,b.
Are you currently working on a new invention?
Modification of the nasal interface to minimize nasal leakage in adults is our new invention idea and we expect it to work properly.
Do you think the government can adopt your idea so that people in remote areas can access ventilator services? What support is needed to spread the innovation across Bangladesh?
For children infected and affected by the coronavirus, the government can directly adopt this invention in remote areas as it has already been recommended by the World Health Organisation. However, for adults, we need to go through a validation phase before adoption in remote areas.