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India to Share Vaccine Platform Tech with 50 Countries

Around 50 countries from Central Asia, Latin America, and Africa will get India’s CoWIN technology, a platform to manage coronavirus vaccinations, ‘free of cost’, according to the CEO of National Health Authority, Dr R.S. Sharma.

Addressing the 2nd Public Health Summit 2021 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Sharma said that the CoWIN portal for vaccination is unique in the world in terms of portability, scalability, and inclusivity. It is a citizen-centric platform and that 300 million-plus registrations and vaccinations with granular details of each individual are available on the portal with a very simple process of registration.

A news report explained that more than 50 countries from Latin America, Africa, and Asia have shown interest in the vaccination system and the country will share the technology with them free of cost.  In his address, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, Delhi called for a robust health care system in India with about 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as health budget. He also underlined the need for close collaboration between the centre and the states on health issues despite health being a state subject. Guleria further called for equitable access to healthcare in rural and remote areas, stressing “there is need for augmentation of specialised manpower and up-gradation of health infra in the country”.

Speaking at the event, the union minister Jitendra Singh said that COVID-19 has strengthened the public-private partnership model in India’s healthcare system with a win-win situation for both. He said that this partnership between industry and public health experts can work on different models such as health care and diagnostics delivery, vaccine development, research and development, telemedicine facilities for rural areas, and the digital delivery of medicines. The minister said that this partnership could be a game-changer and will truly transform the health sector in India.

India has been using technologies to combat the virus. OpenGov Asia recently reported that the Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, under the Defence Research and Development Organisation, developed an AI-based intelligent COVID detection application software ATMAN AI. The intelligent web-based software can classify images under ‘normal’, ‘COVID-19’, and ‘pneumonia’, using chest X-rays.

ATMAN AI is powered by a Deep Convolutional Neural Network. The software pre-processes the images before passing them to the neural net to take care of the variant illuminations levels of the X-Ray images. ATMAN AI can be accessed using mobiles, tablets, laptops, or computers. DRDO claimed ATMAN AI had shown an accuracy of 96.73% on digital chest X-rays of RT-PCR-positive patients. So far, ATMAN AI has been tested and validated by doctors from the HCG Centre for Academics and Research and Ankh Life Care, in Bengaluru.

Further, the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur (IIT-K) launched COVIRAP, a diagnostic tech to detect infectious diseases such as COVID-19. COVIRAP consists of a pre-programmable control unit, a special detection unit on genomic analysis, and a customised smartphone app to display the test findings. IIT-Ropar developed a first-of-its-kind IoT device called AmbiTag. The device records real-time ambient temperature during the transportation of perishable products, body organs, blood, and vaccines, etc. AmbiTag is a USB-shaped device that continuously records the temperature of its immediate surroundings from -40℃ to 80℃ in any time zone for a full 90 days on a single charge. As OpenGov Asia reported, the AmbiTag temperature data log advises the user whether the transported item is usable, or the cold chain has been compromised during the transportation.

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