As concerns regarding the Coronavirus pandemic escalate all across India, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has come forward in the development and procurement of various gears that are the need of the hour. Sanitisation enclosures, bodysuits, sanitisation backpacks, multi-patient ventilators, among others are some of the equipment DRDO has come up with.
DRDO has developed ‘full body disinfection chambers’ also being called as ‘Personnel Sanitation Enclosure’. Designed by DRDO lab, Vehicle Research and Development Establishment located in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, these chambers are supposedly enclosed structures, inside which, will be present an electronically operated pump through which sanitisation mist will be generated for 25 seconds when a person enters it. The disinfectant mist will sanitise the entire body of the person who also has to keep her/his eyes shut while the process takes place. It is pretty much similar to a ‘car-wash’. These chambers will be installed at the entrances of hospitals and other public places where the personnel and other visitors will have to go through them, every time, one wishes to either ‘get into’ or ‘get out’ of the particular premises.
DRDO has also developed bodysuits for health workers, sanitation workers, and medical professionals involved in the treatment and care of infected patients and others.
The body suit, developed by Institute for Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences to be used by healthcare professionals for managing and evacuating casualties in case of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear emergencies, has now been modified to be used for providing a safeguard to individuals who are invested in limiting the spread of the pandemic across the country.
The suits are washable, have passed multiple tests from DRDO and other agencies, and adhere to the ASTM International standards. Frontier Protective Wear Pvt. Ltd. of Kolkata, and Medikit Pvt. Ltd of Mumbai are manufacturing 10,000 units of bodysuits each day and every suit costs Rs 7,000. The production of these suits is expected to increase as DRDO collaborates with more private manufacturers.
DRDO’s Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory, DEBEL, has also designed a water and air proof evacuation bag. The bag, made of non-woven, water-repellent fabric, is in the shape of a rigid cylinder, and will provide necessary protection against blood and viral penetration. The design was recently finalised and DRDO is working on procuring 500 of such bags and looking for private companies with experience in the related field to manufacture them.
Alongside the evacuation bags, DEBEL has contacted Scanray Tech Pvt Ltd, Mysore to procure critical care ventilators. They are also working on developing multi-patient ventilators where one ventilator can support multiple patients. It is expected that 5,000 ventilators will be produced in the first month and the number is expected to increase to 10,000 in the following months. The cost of each unit is about Rs 4 lakh.
Another instrument developed by DRDO to combat the spread of coronavirus is a five layer N99 mask, with two layers of nano mesh. The material for the same is procured from Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association. At the cost of Rs 70 each, around 10,000 masks will be manufactured per day.
DRDO’s defence laboratory in Delhi, Center for Fire Explosives and Environment Safety, has engineered a portable sanitising backpack which can be used for spraying decontamination solution over the suspected areas for sanitisation purposes. The backpacks look similar to fire extinguishers and can carry up to 50 litres of the disinfectant liquid that would consist 1% Hypochlorite Solution. A single backpack can be utilized to sanitise over 300 meters of area.
Furthermore, DRDO has also developed hand sanitizers and supplied 4,000 litres of the same to Indian Armed Forces Medical Corps, Armed forces, and Defence Security Corps. They have also provided 1,500 litres to the Ministry of Defence, 300 litres to the Indian Parliament, and 500 litres to multiple security establishments and offices across the nation. The sanctioned vendor for hand sanitizers is Gwalior AlcoBrew Pvt Ltd, Gwalior, with their capacity between 20,000 and 30,000 litres, and the price is Rs. 20 per litre. Originally Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, a DRDO lab, produced around 20,000 litres of hand sanitizers.