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Govt nod to 5 research projects to tackle COVID-19

The projects have been sanctioned under the Science and Engineering Board (SERB) division with an annual grant of Rs 25 lakh, which may increase depending on the success of the projects.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi | Published: April 3, 2020 2:08:58 am
coronavirus test, covid-19 test, coronavirus india, covid-19 india, migrant workers coronavirus, mass exodus coronavirus, IIT Kanpur’s Department of Chemistry is developing virucidal coatings for surfaces used in healthcare settings such as masks. (File Photo/Representational)

The Department of Science and Technology has sanctioned five technological research projects to address several issues such as the manufacture of emergency ventilators and improved personal protection equipment (PPE) to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The projects have been sanctioned under the Science and Engineering Board (SERB) division with an annual grant of Rs 25 lakh, which may increase depending on the success of the projects.

Meanwhile, the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), a national institute in Thiruvananthapuram under the DST, Thursday tied up with Wipro 3D, Bengaluru to manufacture automated ventilators. These are based on a prototype of an emergency ventilator system based on the Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU) developed by SCTIMST.

The AMBU bag or a bag-valve-mask (BVM) is a hand-held device used to provide positive pressure ventilation to a patient who is either not breathing or breathing inadequately. However, the use of a regular AMBU needs two people to operate it, one to hold the mask and the other to hold the bag. This device, developed by SCTIMST, is entirely automated, therefore eliminating the possibility of close contact with a COVID-19 patient.

The ventilator has been collaboratively developed by the Institute’s Artificial Organs Division, the Biomedical Technology Wing and Department of Anaesthesia.

“The technology was developed in a week. Millions of people worldwide are affected by COVID-19… In this alarming situation, a handy artificial manual breathing unit (AMBU) will be very helpful. We intend to quickly move into clinical trials and then manufacturing through Wipro3D,” SCTIMST Director Dr Asha Kishore said.

Among the five projects under SERB is an initiative being undertaken by IIT Bombay’s Department of Biosciences for identification of global metabolite biomarkers in infected patients for targeted therapy.

IIT Kanpur’s Department of Chemistry is developing virucidal coatings for surfaces used in healthcare settings such as masks.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Bengaluru is also developing antiviral surface coatings to prevent the spread of the virus.

IIT Delhi will come up with formulations for viral decontamination of surfaces such as those that can be applied to mops to disinfect surfaces.

IIT Bombay’s Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering will work on antibody-based capture of 2019-nCoV and its inactivation using lipid-based in-situ gel. Another objective is to develop unsaturated free fatty acid-based emulsion loaded in-situ gels to inactivate the virus at the point of entry.

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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