Good news for premature babies born in developing countries: The Embrace, a $25 infant warmer that acts as an alternative to pricey incubators, just got its first clinical trial test subject in India. The lucky baby was Nisha, a 5-pound girl with a healthy twin brother.
The Embrace concept is simple. A heated pouch is placed inside a sleeping bag, and temperature indicator signals when the pouch needs to be reheated. The device stays at a comfortable temperature for approximately four hours.
Everything went well with Nisha, according to the Embrace project:
Nisha was initially experiencing cold stress, but was safely brought to normal body temperature after being put into the warmer! Also, our device successfully maintained its temperature of 35°C – 38°C for the full four-hour duration. Nisha had a twin brother who was not low birth weight. Interestingly enough, after she had been placed in the Embrace warmer, we observed that Nisha’s temperature was actually higher than her healthy brother’s.
Now that the Embrace project has proved that its warmer works, clinical testing can continue in India. Soon after, Embrace hopes to make its product commercially available in India, where 40% of all low-birth-weight infants are born, and around the world.