Hyderabad: Lack of resources and time during the Covid pandemic in taking up ground-breaking research has forced researchers worldwide to explore repurposing existing drugs and medical equipment to treat Covid positive patients.
Like several antiviral drugs that were originally meant for other diseases but are utilised for management of Covid-19 disease, in the last few months, the demand for oxygen concentrators, which provide supplementary oxygen from ambient air, have increased.
Before the Covid pandemic, oxygen tanks or cylinders were standard products meant to provide oxygen support to patients. However, due to the shortage of such cylinders, ability to hold only a limited amount of medical oxygen that later has to be refilled, the demand for the relatively new technology of oxygen concentrators has increased.
Launched a few years ago to treat patients suffering from chronic lung inflammation known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and sleep apnea, the oxygen concentrators are now in great demand, especially those that can be installed at home for personal use and hospitals.
Essentially, oxygen concentrators ensure there is a non-stop flow of oxygen for Covid patients in their own homes or enables a hospital to generate its own oxygen, when the original source of medical oxygen runs out.
The concentrator machines draw the ambient air present outside and pass it through a series of filters that remove dust, bacteria and other particulate matter. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the compressor in the oxygen concentrator forces air into one of the two cylinders where nitrogen is absorbed, leaving concentrated oxygen.
The other cylinder inside the concentrator helps in exhausting the nitrogen into the atmosphere. The mechanism inside the concentrator is aimed at providing a continuous flow of oxygen to the patient.
While hospitals source their oxygen concentrators through manufacturers, individuals wishing to install such machines in their homes usually need a prescription from a qualified doctor to make the purchase. Usually, doctors or company representatives demonstrate and train patients on how to effectively use these concentrators while they travel or at home.
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