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India develops kiosk for COVID-19 sample collection

The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) in Hyderabad under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a COVID-19 Sample Collection Kiosk (COVSACK).

The unit has been developed by DRDL in consultation with the doctors of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), based in Hyderabad. The COVSACK is a kiosk for use by healthcare workers for taking COVID-19 samples from suspected infected patients. Patients under test walk into the kiosk and nasal or oral swabs are taken by a healthcare professional from outside through the built-in gloves.

According to a press release, the kiosk is automatically disinfected without the need for human involvement, making the process free of infection spread. The shielding screen of the kiosk cabin protects the health care worker from the aerosols or droplet transmission while taking the sample. This reduces the requirements of PPE changes by healthcare workers.

After the patient leaves the kiosk, four nozzle sprayers mounted in the kiosk cabin disinfect the empty chamber by spraying disinfectant mist for a period of 70 seconds. It is further flushed with water and UV light disinfection. The system is ready for next use in less than two minutes.

Voice commands can be given through a two-way communication system integrated with the COVSACK. It is possible to configure COVSACK to be used either from inside or outside as required by the medical professionals.

Image credit: DRDOIndia; Twitter

The COVSACK costs about IN 100,000 (almost US $) and the identified industry based at Belgaum, Karnataka can support 10 units per day.

The DRDO has designed and developed two units and handed over these to ESIC Hospital in Hyderabad after successful testing.

Earlier this month, DRDO, in collaboration with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) organised a webinar to discuss domestic industry manufacturing capabilities to meet the rising demand for COVID-19 combat products.

The DRDO Chairman briefed the participants on the new design for PPEs and assured that complete the know-how will be shared with industries seeking it.

He mentioned that R&D efforts are being undertaken on the reusability of the PPE fabrics.

A serious effort is being put for the indigenisation of critical components for ventilators, oxygen cylinders, goggles, test kits, swabs and Viral Transport Mediums (VTMs).

According to a press release, DRDO is developing about 15-20 products currently. The Chairman noted that the newly developed products included a UV sanitisation box, handheld UV devices, a foot-operated fumigation device, touch-free sanitisers, and face shields.

During the interactive session, several queries were raised by participants regarding material, sourcing, testing, sealants, and new DRDO products. The queries were addressed by the panellists from DRDO, the South India Textile Research Association (SITRA), and other organisations. All technical details of this equipment are available to industries for production at free of cost from DRDO.

DRDO has also developed two new products; an automatic mist-based sanitiser dispensing unit and a UV Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV device.

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