New Delhi: It is a veritable ‘Mantra’ to drastically bring down the cost of robotic surgeries. Robot may be best tool for surgery but is beyond the reach of majority of patients, thanks to its prohibitive cost.
The impending disruption is most likely to happen next year. It will challenge the monopoly of da Vinci surgical robot. A surgical robot named Mantra has almost come into being and is hailed as being able to give da Vinci a run for its money. A globally renowned Indian robotic heart surgeon Dr Sudhir Srivastava is piloting this lot cheaper surgical robot.
It is likely to be an event like Kalam Raju stent which was dirt cheap compared to exorbitant stents in the market. None other than late APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, was behind creation of this dog cheap stent. It cost only Rs 8 thousand while stents from other companies would be priced at between Rs 1 lakh and 1 and half lakh. But under the influence of multinational companies, hospitals and doctors did not allow it to flourish. Dr Srivastava is driven by the same passion of bringing down the cost of robotic surgeries.
Mantra’s clinical trial is all set to start in India next year. If disruption is the credo of present time, the advent of Mantra will be the most momentous of sort in healthcare. SS Innovations, a company founded by Dr Sudhir Srivastava, is making the new surgical robot that is generating much anticipation throughout the world. Dr Srivastava is a global expert in robot assisted cardiac surgery, making an indelible mark in USA.
Talking to Medicare News, Dr Srivastava said, ‘My Mantra robot will cost only Rs 4 crore while da Vinci’s cost is astronomical Rs 18 crore. Surgical robot is undoubtedly the best tool for surgery but cost of this surgery is a deterrent in the way of it becoming the norm. When Mantra comes, which is imminent, it will change all that. I want that more and more people should be able to afford robotic surgery which is the gold standard. This vision was what prompted me to go for such ambitious project ’
‘By the end of this year, assembly of robots will start and clinical trials will begin in India next year. It will be better than all other surgical robots which might enter the market in times to come and da Vinci which has monopoly at present. Mantra would be a surgical robot for all specialities including heart. Our focus is that robot should also be successful in heart surgery,’added Dr Srivastava.
Dr Srivastava has got funding from China. According to him 70 people in SS Innovations are working for giving finishing touch to Mantra. In Andhra Med Tech Zone (AMTZ) in AP, SS Innovations has taken 40 thousand sq foot area on lease for 35 years. The area where Mantra will be assembled is in the works. SS Innovations has offices in China and USA as well. For now, da Vinci of Intuitive Inc is the only surgical robot. CMR Surgical and Medtronic are two other companies which are bound to challenge da Vinci’s monopoly.
Mantra will not only be cheap, it will be easy for use as well. Dr Srivastava says that Mantra will be surgical robot though for developing world but as efficient as da Vinci is or even better. The global surgical robotics market is on the cusp of boom and is all set to reach $12.6 billion by 2025. The da Vinci Surgical System alone has been used to treat more than three million patients. For some procedures, like prostate surgery, it is now the gold standard. But surgery from da Vinci is not affordable for commoners. Dr Srivastava founded SS Innovations in China in 2017.
According to Srivastava, now available surgical robotic systems are far too expensive and take years to master. As a result very few surgeons are trained to operate these systems and much of the world is unable to access this technology.SSI recently tested its system on 10 animals for one exploratory laparotomy with promising results.