With every passing day, the instances of novel coronavirus infections are surging rapidly. Medical organizations and healthcare facilities are in constant pressure for making more beds and utilities available for the growing number of patients. In India, this pandemic has also compelled medical colleges to produce a higher number of medical staff trained under the Emergency Medical Technology course as well as healthcare professionals qualified with the degree of B.Sc Clinical Research and Healthcare Management.
The cure for the COVID-19 virus lies in its molecular biology and to explore it, there is an all-time high demand for biomedical engineers. Hospitals are increasing their capacity for beds, ventilators, and other biomedical equipment. But, at the same time, there aren’t enough medical personnel trained to operate these devices. Medical technology is being used at the forefront of this fight against COVID-19, and the lesser-known heroes on the field are the biomedical engineers.
The Role of Biomedical Engineers in COVID-19 Treatments
Advancements in medical technology have improved the quality of patient care for coronavirus patients. To use these technologies effectively, hospitals and treatment facilities need qualified biomedical engineers. These devices have a direct impact on the survival rate of critical coronavirus cases. Any miscalibration while using such equipment can hamper the health of patients and even lead to fatalities. Hence, the need for biomedical engineers is certainly critical and evident at this juncture of the global health crisis.
In the past two months, thousands of biomedical engineers working in the fields of medical research, device manufacturing, and drug development have come to the rescue. Indian biomedical engineers have actively responded to this crisis by adapting their knowledge, skills, and equipment for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Biomedical Engineers Behind the Scenes
Let’s break down the role of a biomedical engineer in the treatment of coronavirus patients. To begin with, biomedical engineers are responsible for designing a variety of biomedical equipment. These engineers are currently set up in industries and ensuring proper manufacturing of ventilators, in-vitro diagnostic kits, antibody test kits, and PPEs. In this capacity, they are aiding the recovery of patients by developing high-quality stents, artificial organs, orthotic supports, and other devices.
Several engineers are employing reverse engineering techniques for the de-construction of these devices and using the effective parts to understanding their make-up better. They are using optimum methods for developing these devices without any biomedical wastage. The biggest challenge that these biomedical engineers have overcome is expediting the process of manufacturing these devices. Normally, building a ventilator takes months but these smart engineers have shortened the time frame to days and ensure quality control at all stages of manufacturing. In the meantime, these professionals have also sped up the testing process so that these devices meet all the health and safety regulations properly and get distributed quickly.
Biomedical Engineers At Ground Level
Next, these engineers are using their in-depth knowledge of biology, computing, and genetic engineering for drug administration. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is deploying a vast number of biomedical engineers across hospitals around the country. Under the ICMR protocols, these engineers guide the doctors and medical staff with the operations of ventilators and biomedical devices at Intensive Care Units. They are helping in the purposeful use of these devices, where these machines are able to effectively treat the maximum number of COVID-19 patients within the required time periods.
Instrumenting Biomedical Innovations
In addition to their significance in the actual fight against COVID-19, some of the country’s top biomedical engineers have teamed up for developing new techniques of biomedical device manufacturing. Leading biomedical manufacturers in India are using 3D printing innovations to make accurate copies of delicate biomedical devices such as stents and capillaries. These techniques are also being used for the production of surplus visors and surgical face masks for healthcare workers.
In the post-coronavirus era, medical colleges across the country would be encouraging students to specialize in biomedical engineering. Such pandemics are likely to revisit us from time to time, which is why biomedical engineers have the opportunities to grow their careers and overcome these challenges. Despite being the hidden heroes, biomedical engineers would always be appreciated by billions of Indians for being of greater service to mankind.