How India Fights Corona the Smart Initiatives That Help India Flatten the Curve
Published by : Industrial Automation
With cities across India sternly threatened by the Covid-19 outbreak, the country is fighting aggressively against the pandemic with a cluster containment strategy to contain the disease. By imposing a 21-day nationwide lockdown with extending the lockdown period till May 3, the government continuously putting efforts to break the chain of transmission and thus preventing its spread.
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) praised India for its tough and timely efforts to control the spread of the virus. According to recent press briefings from the Union Health Ministry, there has been no community transmission of coronavirus since the country went into lockdown, and the growth factor of cases has declined by 40%.
To contain this virus spread within the country, not only the government, but private entities have also stepped out in the fight against Covid-19 with innovative technological innovations and smart initiatives.
Covid-19 Specific Research Centres
As more than 20 technical and scientific institutions are working on developing a vaccine for coronavirus, IITs have already set up "COVID-19 specific research centres", encouraging developments in the innovation ecosystem. The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT Delhi) has become the first institute in the country to build an alternative clinical testing method for the virus, which has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The current testing methods available are "probe-based", while the one developed by the IIT team is a "probe-free" method, which reduces the testing cost without compromising on accuracy.
COVID-19 Solution Challenge
The Government of India is taking all necessary steps to ensure that the country is prepared well to face the challenge and threat posed by the growing pandemic of COVID 19. The government, to prevent the spread of the Virus locally, is empowering the citizens with the right information and taking precautions as per the advisories being issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. In order to involve the community in the fight against the Virus, the government has launched a COVID-19 solution challenge where participants would need to share their solutions to help fight #Coronavirus. Submitted solutions will be evaluated for adoption and those selected will be suitable rewarded.
Initiatives by Smart Cities
The Vadodara district administration has installed a helium balloon attached with two cameras for surveillance on lockdown violators. The balloon, installed in the Tandalja area, also has a public address system attached to it. On the other hand, the Karnataka government, last week, launched a data dashboard Bengaluru Smart City Covid-19 War Room, which will act as a single source for all pandemic-related action and measures, as well as data collection. Agra Smart City Ltd launched E-Doctor Seva, a tele-video consultation facility, for the local population. It is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of Agra Smart City Limited.
Bhopal Smart City office Turns into Covid-19 War Room
Smart City office in Bhopal has been turned into the war room to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in the city. An action plan for effective containment of the deadly virus was put into action in a meeting convened by divisional commissioner, Bhopal, Kalpana Shrivastava. In an effort to trounce the virus, a Citizen Support System Team has been formed, which will play a key role in this effort. As per reports, the commissioner has further directed officials to ensure the easy availability of masks in Bhopal and the other three districts under her jurisdiction. Moreover, the MP Chamber of Commerce has provided 5,000 masks and some self-help groups will soon be delivering 10,000 more masks.
Mylab Discovery’s Covid-19 Testing Kit
In March, Pune-based Mylab Discovery has become the first company in the country to receive approval for its Covid-19 diagnostic test kits, called reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. The testing kit has been commercially approved by the Indian FDA/ Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). The approval of this kit is expected to help increase testing in the country. The company expects to produce one lakh test kits per week and then gradually increase the production to meet the testing demands.
This is a contact tracking app, which is developed by a joint effort of the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The app tracks the data of the user every hour and then alerts them whether they have crossed paths with any person who tested positive for coronavirus. The app works based on the user's location that is mapped through GPS on the app to assess whether they are at a high-risk geographical zone or not. Data experts believe that this could be beneficial for a country like India that has a large number of cellphone users.
This is a government of India’s mobile application which is designed to connect health services and to fight against Covid-19 in a collaborative effort of people and the government. Arogya Setu empowers the users by informing them about the potential risk of infection through Bluetooth contact tracing and equips people with self-assessment tools and contextual advice. Even some states in the country made the app mandatory to have in a user phone, including Delhi. Also, in Tamil Nadu, the government asks varsity, college staff, to download the Arogya Setu app to meet the target of 50 lakh downloads of the Centre’s app.
C-CAMP COVID-19 Innovations Deployment Accelerator
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), a not-for-profit organization mandated to enable cutting-edge life science research and innovation, and promote life science entrepreneurship, has launched C-CAMP COVID-19 Innovations Deployment Accelerator (C-CIDA) on March 26, 2020, to help accelerate COVID-19 innovations stuck in last-mile issues. The initiative by C-CAMP has now been joined by multiple partners, including UNHIE, Social Alpha, XYNTEO India2022, MedTechConnect, India Health Fund, AIC CCMB, CCMB, PATH, Action COVID-19 Team, ACT, India’s biggest non-governmental funding mobilization effort in wake of the pandemic led by Indian startups and industry and 91Springboard.
In the case of the low-cost testing kit built by IIT-Delhi scientists, the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, is in the process of authenticating this test on clinical samples. The affordable kit called 'Probe-Free Detection Assay' has already been optimised and tested for sensitivity at the research laboratories of the institute. Once approved and put to use, this testing kit can be a big leap at a time when testing remains a big issue and private labs are finding few takers because of high pricing. The scientists associated with the innovation said that the test can be performed at a much cheaper price and hence will be affordable for the general public.
IITs’ Battle Against Covid-19
In order to combat the pandemic, IIT-Guwahati has taken the lead in the development of drones to aid the battle against Covid-19. With nearly two dozen institutions working on building a vaccine for coronavirus, IITs have already set up 'Covid-19 specific research centres' on campuses. An IIT-Bombay startup has created a digital stethoscope that can listen to heartbeats from a distance and record them, minimising the risk of healthcare professionals fighting the pandemic at the frontline.
Therefore, since the Covid-19 pandemic has hit India and the world, it is sparking a flurry of innovations and smart initiatives with low-cost but advanced innovations in the country. From testing kits to cost-effective ventilators, santiser machines to drones and portable fever detection systems, governments as well as institutes and startups are coming forward to join the fight against the pandemic.