In the last week of May 2020, I began working on a story with HuffPost India on what we thought would be a celebration of Indian ingenuity: A startup called AgVa had teamed up with Maruti Suzuki to build what they claimed was the world’s cheapest, smallest and most advanced ventilator. They had just bagged an order to supply 10,000 ventilators under the PMCARES fund.
As our investigation progressed, we were troubled by what we found: Doctors who had used AgVa ventilators shared their accounts, former employees described a worrying lack of rigour and confessed how the company had fudges software, and two government clinical evaluation committees said the ventilators were not suitable for ICUs and should only be used in hospitals that had backups.
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