Home South African SA-made oxygen delivery device could be game-changer for Covid patients

SA-made oxygen delivery device could be game-changer for Covid patients

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OxERA is a portable and cost-effective device that delivers consistently high levels of oxygen to keep the lungs of Covid-19 patients from collapsing

Reiner Gabler, managing director of Gabler Medical which will manufacture and distribute the OxERA device. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – A group of South African doctors, engineers and designers based in East London has invented a medical device that revolutionises oxygen delivery to Covid-19 patients.

A statement from the Umoya-Gabler Consortium behind the project said that the Cape Town-based specialist medical device manufacturer Gabler Medical would now produce and distribute the clinically- and cost-effective, easy-to-use device that has the potential to boost the scale and efficacy of Covid-19 oxygen care at clinics and hospitals.

Named OxERA (Oxygen-Efficient Respiratory Aid), the device is portable and delivers consistently high levels of oxygen to keep Covid-19 patients’ lungs from collapsing.

It could be a game-changer in instances where there are a large number of patients but a lack of skilled staff, intensive care unit (ICU) and high care facilities as well as insufficient bulk oxygen supplies.

“It effectively bridges the gap between current standard oxygen therapy via face masks and ICU-based non-invasive or mechanical ventilation, while requiring no more oxygen flow than a standard face mask,” the Umoya-Gabler Consortium said.

OxERA was developed by a group of East London-based volunteers that includes doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs and has now been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority for emergency Covid-19 use.

The device has been used successfully in environments ranging from rural clinics to specialist hospitals, and by all levels of staff.

Hundreds of OxERAs have already been distributed to 25 hospitals around the country, said Umoya project manager Trevor Rossouw, a civil engineer.

Devices have also been distributed to Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, the Umoya-Gabler Consortium said.

“We can produce over 15,000 units a week, so capacity is not an issue,” said Gabler Medical managing director Reiner Gabler.

“This will definitely create jobs during the pandemic and, if the product achieves general acceptance, also after the pandemic. The device holds export potential too.”

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