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        Delivering life sustaining oxygen efficiently

        A group of South African doctors, engineers and designers based in East London has invented
        and developed a medical device that revolutionises oxygen delivery to COVID-19 patients.
         A specialist medical device manufacturer of long standing will now produce and distribute the

        clinically- and cost-effective, easy-to-use device, which has the potential to boost the scale and
        efficacy of COVID-19 oxygen care at clinics and hospitals.

             his South African invention,    emergency COVID-19 use, which will be manufactured and distributed by Gabler Medical.
             named OxERA (Oxygen-Efficient     Dr Craig Parker, a medical officer working in anaesthetics with a background in
        TRespiratory Aid), could be a        mechanical engineering, says the group was determined to find a solution when they
        game changer where there are a large  realised that South Africa would face similar patient loads seen in Europe during the
        number of COVID-19 patients yet a lack  COVID-19 pandemic, but would have limited high care capacity and fewer resources
        of skilled staff, ICU and high care  to respond.
        facilities; and insufficient bulk oxygen  They set up a social enterprise (a business with specific social objectives) in March
        supplies. It effectively bridges the gap  2020, trading as Umoya (‘air’ in isiXhosa). Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as
        between current standard oxygen      scuba diving equipment and 3D printing, they built a working prototype within two weeks,
        therapy via face masks and ICU-based  and a 3D-printed final design within seven weeks.
        non-invasive or mechanical ventilation,
        while requiring no more oxygen flow  Production and distribution
        than a standard face mask.           A consortium was established between Umoya and Gabler Medical, a specialist medical
           The OxERA device is an all-in-one  device manufacturing firm founded in Cape Town over 50 years ago by Alfred Josef
        device using an oxygen accumulator   Gabler, a German instrument maker. The device will be manufactured, distributed and
        bag, anaesthetic mask and an adjustable  supported by Gabler Medical, which holds ISO13485 certification and specialises in the
        mechanical PEEP valve that is simple,  manufacture of oxygen therapy equipment.
        cost effective and oxygen efficient. Tests  Reiner Gabler, MD of Gabler Medical, says industrialisation and licencing have been
        have shown that not only can         a lengthy process, but now that the company has obtained SAHPRA approval for the
        consistently high levels of oxygen be  device they can focus on scaling up production. “We can produce over 15,000 units a
        delivered with the critical benefit of  week, so capacity is not an issue. This will create jobs during the pandemic and, if the
        PEEP, but less oxygen is usually needed  product achieves general acceptance, also after the pandemic. The device holds export
        as supply can be titrated to patient  potential too.”
        demand rather than having to be left fully
        open. The high oxygen level ensures that
        maximum oxygen content is available to
        the diseased lungs and the PEEP
        prevents lungs collapsing during
        expiration, reducing the amount of work it
        takes to breathe. In our oxygen resource
        constrained environment, this is a game
        changer and allows even the most basic
        facilities that are dependent on bottled
        oxygen or small oxygen concentrators to
        provide a higher level of clinical care
        than they are currently able to. It also
        means that the device is suitable for use
        in transferring patients in ambulances
        where other options are limited.
           The device was developed by a
        group of East London-based volunteers
        that includes doctors, engineers and
        entrepreneurs. The South African Health
        Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA)  South African innovation: The OxERA device is simple, efficient, portable and
        has now approved the OxERA device for  cost-effective.

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