The group started to work on a solution that would not only eliminate the dangers related to traditional oxygen tanks, but would also make it easier for the oxygen to be carried around.
By ROSSELLA TERCATIN
An Israeli start-up has developed an ultra-portable oxygen generator that could offer a solution for the increasing need for oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients, as well as for many other emergency situations.As explained to The Jerusalem Post by the CEO of the company, Oded Weiss, Oxygenium was established about three years ago by a group of Israeli partners inspired by their medical but also military experience to tackle a life-or-death challenge: bringing oxygen to the battlefield.“Oxygen tanks are not allowed in the battlefield because they risk exploding and are therefore considered too dangerous,” he said. “However, we have seen that in wars that Israel has fought, the complications related to the evacuation of injured soldiers without the possibility of providing them with oxygen in the meantime has caused several fatalities.”The group started to work on a solution that would not only eliminate the dangers related to traditional oxygen tanks, but would also make it easier for the oxygen to be carried around.The result is a device about 45x18 centimeters in size that produces oxygen without the need of a thermo-dynamic process.“Our device can create a stable high-flow of oxygen and it is easy to operate.” Weiss said. “In order to ensure the continuity of the flow, it works with cartridges that can be replaced.”Over the years, the start-up, based in the Tamar Science Park, has worked with several partners, including United Hatzalah, the US Army Medical Materiel Development Activity and the New York City Fire Department.Weiss pointed out that even though their first goal was to create a device to be deployed in the military context and in emergency situations, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, they have been contacted by more and more hospitals.“We have understood that the need for our device is even greater than we thought,” he said. “At the beginning, medical experts thought that the best solution for COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms was to put them on ventilators and then they came to the conclusion that it might be dangerous, while oxygen may still be required.”The solution offered by Oxygenium potentially fits different needs, not only life-and-death situations, but also in assisting athletes who climb Mount Everest, Weiss added. Moreover, it could help people suffering from different pathologies who require oxygen suppliers at home to solve the logistical problems of getting rid of the bulky tanks.The goal of the company is to launch the product between September and October.“We started this project out with the idea of helping save lives and this has become even more apparent to us in this last period,” Weiss concluded. “I don’t think that the coronavirus emergency is over and I think it is important to be prepared. I have seen the devastation that the lack of oxygen generators is creating, especially in developing countries. I like to think that with our device we will be able to say that Israel will bring some hope to those countries.”