Kathmandu, Apr. 21: As COVID-19 pandemic rages on worldwide, health workers are in the front line, putting themselves at risk to treat their patients. This, unfortunately, has caused the death of many doctors and nurses to the very disease they are trying to contain. As the number of cases continues to rise in Nepal, medical professionals here are also facing an increasing risk of contracting the virus. So, a team of youths from National Innovation Centre (NIC) have developed an aerosol box and a model emergency ventilator to minimise the risk of infection for them. NIC Founder Mahabir Pun said that 10 aerosol boxes had been developed and distributed till Monday. “The boxes have been given to the hospitals which are treating corona patients,” he said, taking the names of Nepal Army Hospital, Armed Police Force Hospital, Bir Hospital, Patan Hospital, TU Teaching Hospital, Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital. The box is simple in design and made from acrylic. Pun said that it would help protect clinicians without access to standard personal protective equipment (PPE) during the treatment of COVID-19 patients. “The patient’s head is placed inside the box,” Pun explained, “That way, the droplets from their cough and sneeze stay inside the box and do not come in contact with the health professionals near them.” He informed that the demand for the box was increasing day by day, especially from health institutions outside Kathmandu Valley. “But, we have our limitations and can only make two such boxes in a day,” he said. However, the hospitals, while appreciative of the boxes, do not seem to have brought them into use. Dr Bishnu Prasad Sharma, director of Patan Academy of Health Sciences (Patan Hospital), said that their aerosol box had not yet been employed towards the treatment of any COVID-19 patient. Similarly, Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital also said that they had not used the box so far because of a lack of infected patients. With regard to the model ventilator, NIC informed that it was based on a design of an American researcher of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Pun said that the Centre was ready to manufacture and supply the ventilators to any hospital demanding it. “This ventilator can be put in an ambulance and used immediately in emergency cases,” he said. In addition to the new model, the Centre’s bio-medical engineers are also busy repairing old broken ventilators in various hospitals and making them ready for use. Pun said, “The team has repaired more than 30 damaged ventilators at Bir Hospital, National Trauma Hospital, TU Teaching Hospital, Army Hospital, Gangalal Hospital, and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences.” Likewise, the Centre has set up 18 COVID-19 treatment booths in various hospitals and has distributed around 3,000 PPEs to health workers and institutions. National Innovation Centre develops aerosol box for protection of health workers.