Toyota Kenya joins the fight to combat COVID-19 by developing a Bridge Mechanical Ventilator to support patients with respiratory failure

As the entire nation comes together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through various means, automobile assembler Toyota Kenya has developed the “Bridge Mechanical Ventilator” as an emergency use resuscitator system to support patients with COVID-19 respiratory failure.

Designed to enable rapid large-scale development and deployment, the easy to use Bridge Mechanical Ventilator has been made from locally sourced components which can be easily replicated to avert the Covid-19 pandemic.

Toyota Kenya Managing Director, Arvinder Reel said that the firm had taken up the call by President Uhuru Kenyatta for local companies to come up with easy to deploy local solutions in the battle to contain the spread of the coronavirus. “It is recognized that the surge in COVID-19 is requiring extraordinary measures that include the provision of mechanical ventilator support to keep pace with clinical need at our healthcare facilities.”

The bridge mechanical ventilator comprises of four parts that include:

  1. A motor vehicle motor 12V DC, which can be sourced from any car wiper motor
  2. Locally fabricated sheet metal pattern which can be cut by CNC machines or fabricated by jua kali artisans.
  3. Cam pattern which can also be cut from sheet metal plates to control the tidal volume.
  4. The motor control circuits can be locally made using available IC, transistor, capacitors and resistors.

Once given the necessary approvals, Toyota Kenya will be able to develop up to 20 Bridge Mechanical Ventilator per day.

How it works

The bridge mechanical ventilator makes use of an Ambu bag, which is essentially used for emergencies when a ventilator is not available, where a doctor or a medical practitioner squeezes the bag by hand to push air into the lungs of the patient. E-Vent uses this Ambu bag (something that is available in abundance in hospitals) and squeezes it with the help of a paddle activated by cam discs attached to a mechanical motor.

The ventilatory support needs of a COVID-19 patient can range from simple BIPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) for patients that are breathing spontaneously to mandatory ventilation in either a pressure-support or volume control mode. Additionally, these patients are very likely to require inspired oxygen concentrations (FiO2) in excess of the 21% contained in room air.

When in operation, the bridge mechanical ventilator indicates to the operator; the current settings that could include inspiratory pressure, tidal volume estimate, frequency; and the current delivery, for instance, inspiratory pressure or respiratory rate.

It is strongly recommended that the device should be used under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

Below is a pictorial view of the machine design and components.