Useful innovations to fight COVID-19

On June 1, 2020, India's Ministry of Defence announced that Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a disinfection unit named Ultra Swachh (clean) to disinfect a wide range of materials, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), electronics items, fabrics, etc

Col Anil Bhat (retd) Jun 09, 2020
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On June 1, 2020, India's Ministry of Defence announced that Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a disinfection unit named Ultra Swachh (clean) to disinfect a wide range of materials, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), electronics items, fabrics, etc. Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), DRDO’s Delhi based laboratory has developed this product with industry partner Gel Craft Healthcare Private Ltd, Ghaziabad.

The system uses an advanced oxidative process comprising of multiple barrier disruption approaches using Ozonated Space Technology for disinfection. The system is double layered with specialised Ozone sealant technology assuring trapping of ozone for the necessary disinfection cycle. It also has a catalytic converter to ensure environment-friendly exhaust, i.e. only oxygen and water. In compliance with International Standards of Industrial, Occupational, Personal and Environmental Safety, the Ultra Swachh comes in two variants, namely Ozonated Space and Trinetra Technology. Trinetra technology is a combination of Ozonated space and radical dispenser. Treatment is optimised with automation for quick disinfection cycle.

Ultra Swachh, which operates on 15 Ampere, 220 Volts, 50 Hertz power supply, has been provided with various safety features such as emergency shutdown, door interlocks, dual door, delay cycle, and leak monitors, etc. to ensure safe operations for a longer duration. Dimensions of the Industrial Cabinet are 7’x4’x3.25’ to disinfect a large quantity at a time. Cabinets of different sizes will be available for the industry. 

On June 8, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced that it has designed, developed and inducted an Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT), which will be utilised for the evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases including COVID-19 from high altitude area, isolated and remote locations.

The requirement of an air evacuation system with the facility to prevent the spread of infectious aerosol from a COVID-19 patient during air travel was felt by IAF when COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic. The first prototype was developed at 3 Base Repair Depot, Air Force and has undergone various modifications. Supporting the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) call by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, only indigenous materials have been used to fabricate this pod. This indigenously designed system has been developed at a cost of Rs.60,000, which is one hundredth the cost of the imported systems, i.e. six million.

The system has been developed as a lightweight isolation system made from aviation certified material. It has a transparent and durable cast Perspex for enhanced patient visibility which is larger, higher and wider than the existing models. The isolation system caters for the suitable number of air exchanges, integration of medical monitoring instruments, and ventilation to an intubated patient. In addition, it generates high constant negative pressure in the isolation chamber for prevention of infection risk to aircrew, ground crew and health care workers involved in air transportation. The ARPIT utilises High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) H-13 class filters and supports invasive ventilation using Transport Ventilator. The design integrates life support and monitoring instruments (defibrillator with multipara monitor, pulse oximeter, Infusion pumps, etc), long arm gloves for use by health care professionals and power pack with high endurance. Design requirements have been evolved and are based on the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), USA.  The IAF is inducting seven ARPITs, to begin with.

(The writer is a former Indian Army and Ministry of Defence spokesman.  He can be contacted at wordsword02@gmail.com)