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IITs asked to give plans for combating Covid-19 in 2 days: MHRD

April 1, 2020

The human resource development (HRD) ministry on Monday has asked all the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to submit comprehensive plans within two days to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak. In a video conference held with directors of IITs, Amit Khare, secretary, HRD ministry, has asked the institutes to come up with clear short-term and medium-term technology solution plans to combat Covid-19 and similar medical emergencies in the future.

Khare also asked the institutes to draw long-term plans to help prepare for medical emergencies. Some of the IITs have already proposed short-term and medium-term ideas to the ministry and it will be taken up with the health ministry and Covid-19 experts chaired by the principal scientific advisor to the government in order to enable a quick scale-up.

Khare said, “Several IITs have developed prototypes of protective masks and face shields. IIT Delhi and IIT Guwahati are working on better quality personal protective equipment for doctors and attendants dealing with Covid-19 patients. While prototypes are ready in several cases, scaling up requires industry collaborations and funding. Many have proposed research on Covid-19 virus but samples are not made available yet and we hope to facilitate that.”

At IIT Delhi is working to develop protective apparel for medical personnel that can be optimised to provide a barrier to blood or microbes.

Masks, protective gear and cheaper ventilators are among the short term proposals that could soon be implemented. IIT Kanpur has developed a prototype of a low-cost ventilator, priced at Rs 70,000 each instead of the Rs 4 lakh versions currently in use.

IIT Hyderabad has proposed an alternative to ventilators, a redesigned ‘bag valve mask’ which is used to resuscitate persons in emergencies while IIT Bombay is devising an app to track Covid-19 patients and cases.

Source: Economic Times

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