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Indian Telephone Industries to manufacture ventilators amid COVID-19

Medical experts say that India needs several thousand ventilators to address COVID-19

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and state-owned electronics product manufacturer Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) are in talks to produce portable ventilators as a response to COVID-19 outbreak.

ITI Chairman Rakesh Mohan Agarwal told ET Telecom that DRDO wants ITI to manufacture portable ventilators and will “transfer” necessary technology to the telecoms equipment maker.

Prior to the pandemic, ITI busied itself with manufacturing radio modems, optical networks, smart meters and Wi-Fi access points.

But Agarwal said that the company has the capabilities in its Bangaluru facility to produce the ventilators quickly.

“Once we come up with the product prototype, ITI will be able to produce portable ventilators within the next 30 to 60 days,” he said.

The latest reports indicate that there have been 5,749 confirmed coronavirus cases and 178 deaths in India, and the country’s medical experts say that several thousand ventilators are needed to respond to rising epidemic cases. In fact, according to one estimate, India may see 2.2 million COVID-19 cases by Mid May, and because an estimated 5-10% of total patients will require ventilator support, it can be calculated that India needs 110,000 to 220,000 ventilators.

Currently, India is thought to have approximately 57,000 ventilators.

While Agarwal expressed optimism in the company’s ability to modify its production from telecom tech to ventilators, he did acknowledge that component sourcing might present a challenge. ITI will need to source components locally and globally, which Agarwal said will likely be a “cumbersome task” as a result of the current lockdown.

Like many other countries, India has been under lockdown since March 24 in an effort to prevent deadly transmission of the virus.



Catherine Sbeglia Nin
Catherine Sbeglia Nin
Catherine is the Managing Editor for RCR Wireless News and Enterprise IoT Insights, where she covers topics such as Wi-Fi, network infrastructure and edge computing. She also hosts Arden Media's podcast Well, technically... After studying English and Film & Media Studies at The University of Rochester, she moved to Madison, WI. Having already lived on both coasts, she thought she’d give the middle a try. So far, she likes it very much.

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