|UNDP resident representative Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen appreciates Vihelm products |
The coronavirus pandemic is still high on the agenda for people, organisations, businesses, and governments around the world. The continuous emergence of new strains of COVID-19 with a faster and more dangerous spread rate makes the fight against COVID-19 more challenging, putting off an end to the pandemic.
While waiting for COVID-19 vaccines to be widely inoculated for more than 70 per cent of the Vietnamese population to achieve community immunity, businesses, organisations, and people still have to accept living and working under the “new normal”.
Doctors and frontline soldiers face the constant danger of being exposed to COVID-19. In that context, many initiatives and products were introduced by individuals and organisations to serve the fight against the pandemic.
One of the products is Vihelm, a distinct mask to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. This is an improvement on the traditional gas mask and protective gear featuring a more compact and user-friendly design.
The product has passed the most rigorous tests of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and has been warmly received by the US market.
Vihelm masks have been used each day by frontline US doctors in isolation and treatment areas for COVID-19. After the US market, the product has also supported numeous frontline doctors in India in the recent fierce fight against the pandemic.
|Donating Vihelm products to CDC Bac Ninh and Hoan My Bac Ninh Hospital in May 2021 |
Vihelm meets two criteria simultaneously: it offers a high level of protection for users from COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases while ensuring user comfort and convenience, especially for those who have to use it regularly and for a long time.
Vihelm was created by a group of Vietnamese inventors, led by engineer Nguyen Dinh Nam, a famous inventor who is former director of the camera institute belonging to Vingroup, a leading private conglomerate in the country.
Vihelm products have succeeded in retaining the top protection features of traditional respirators but are more compact, providing comfort and sufficient oxygen for users through a rechargeable fan system that provides fresh air.
|Vihelm’s mask design for prevention of COVID-19 and respiratory infections has been patented by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam and registered for world intellectual property protection. |
Through experiments, this ventilation fan system has been able to reduce the temperature inside the mask by 6-7 degrees Celsius compared to a traditional respirator or the outside temperature. In addition, while wearing, users can still scratch their face (through the glove box) or drink water through a straw without having to take off the protective mask.
Vihelm’s mask design for prevention of COVID-19 and respiratory infections has been patented by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam and registered for world intellectual property protection.
Vihelm is also FDA certified and comes on par with globally recognised Medical Device Quality Management System ISO 13485:2016.
In 2020, the product won a special prize, a gold medal and entered the group of 10 best technological designs in the International Invention Innovation Competition (ICAN) jointly organised by the Canadian Investors Associated and the United Inventors Association of America, surpassing 600 entries by well-known scientists and professors from diverse universities, and inventors of global tech groups from 60 countries around the world.
|Front-line doctors joining the fight against COVID-19 in Bac Giang province |
Vihelm have also garnered good remarks from authorised management agencies like the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as attention and comments from doctors of Thong Nhat Hospital and Vinmec Hospital.
“The Vihelm mask is an effective mobile pandemic prevention tool. The product is especially suitable for people who work in high-risk environments such as doctors, airplane crew, and sales staff,” said Le Dinh Thanh, director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Thong Nhat Hospital.
“I hope that through this Vietnam will be closer connected with the international medical community, helping to boost linkages between the managers and scientists as well as medical experts and investors in order to soon put Vihelm into mass use, so that Vietnam will soon have a more effective anti-pandemic tool," said Ha Anh Duc, member of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
The group of young inventors of Vihelm products was praised by former Prime Minister and current President Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the national festival for innovative startups, Techfest Vietnam 2020.
“Vilhelm is proud to be born and developed to contribute to humanity's fight against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. The invention offers the highest safety standards against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases, while still ensuring comfort and convenience to users,” said Vilhelm CEO Nguyen Dinh Nam.