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IITs join COVID-19 fight, offer low-cost ventilators, test kits

From low-cost ventilators and testing kits to personal protective equipment for health workers, the directors of IIT-Delhi, IIT-Guwahati, IIT-Bombay and IIT-Kanpur shared their institute’s work on containing the spread of the virus with the HRD Ministry.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: April 7, 2020 1:54:51 pm
coronavirus india lockdown, ventilators coronavirus, shortage of ventilators, IIT ventilator coronavirus, ventilator supply, india ventilators, indian express The premier engineering schools have sought the government’s assistance in facilitating tie-up with Public Sector Units to scale up production of prototypes and to mitigate difficulties faced in procuring raw material because of the lockdown. (File Photo/Representational)

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) on Tuesday offered a range of inexpensive solutions developed by their faculty to assist the government in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

From low-cost ventilators and testing kits to personal protective equipment for health workers, the directors of IIT-Delhi, IIT-Guwahati, IIT-Bombay and IIT-Kanpur shared their institute’s work on containing the spread of the virus with the HRD Ministry, which, in turn, has forwarded it to the Health Ministry.

The premier engineering schools have sought the government’s assistance in facilitating tie-up with Public Sector Units to scale up production of prototypes and to mitigate difficulties faced in procuring raw material because of the lockdown.

Read| Developing hand sanitiser to coronavirus testing kit, here’s what IITs and other institutes are doing

IIT-Delhi, for instance, has developed a cheap testing kit but needs help in procuring COVID positive samples to test the efficacy of its innovation. Similarly, a start-up incubated by the institute can produce one lakh N95 masks a day, says director Ramgopal Rao, but it needs the government’s help in securing permission to keep the production facility running during the lockdown.

IIT-Bombay has informed the government that it has a COVID-19 testing lab ready on its campus, but needs testing kits. The engineering school has a research collaboration with CIPLA for “appropriate drug discovery” and is currently working on developing the prototype of a low-cost ventilator in three months, among other things.

IIT-Kanpur has three young faculty members of the biosciences department working on vaccination against the virus.

“The team has managed to isolate the RNS extract of the virus. They are in the process of sourcing a similar extract from IIT Indore. We are hopeful of developing a possible vaccine in the next couple of months, which can then be tested in a clinical trial,” IIT Kanpur deputy director Manindra Agrawal told The Indian Express.

IIT-Guwahati has offered to pitch in with its 3D-printed full-face shield and headgear for health workers, robotic cart to deliver food to isolation wards and high-grade sanitiser. “We are completely ready with the full-face shield. We are an educational institution, and can only demonstrate the manufacture of 100 to 200 shields at best. We need the government’s help to tie up with a PSU for large-scale manufacturing,” said institute director TG Sitharam.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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