DRDO technology to counter Covid

Dr Sudershan Kumar
Ever since the first case of Corona virus was detected in Wuhan city of Hubei province in the People’s Republic of China, there seems no end to this ever growing pandemic which has now spread it’s deadly wings to the whole world. As per the latest reports,nearly 208 countries have already been affected by this deadly corona virus. More than 2 million people around the globe have been infected and nearly more than one lac have lost their lives.This number is varying rapidly.
As per latest reports there are nearly 13000 COVID-19 positives cases in India and these numbers are continuously soaring, nearly more than 450 deaths have occurred and more than 1036 people have been cured from this deadly disease.The largest number of cases are from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. These numbers seem to be small if one views it against the backdrop of the size and population of India. Also the picture doesn’t look that dismal when one compares these numbers with those of the most advanced countries like US, UK or France etc. This has been possible only due to bold ,proactive measures taken by Central Government under the visionary leader ship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is leading the nation from the front at this critical time and also by setting an example. Moreover constant advice by the medical fraternity and the prime minister to advocate various preventive measures are social distancing ,avoiding hand shakes and embracing our greeting style of namaste, frequently washing hands at regular interval, avoiding community, religious meetings and conglomeratiions adhering to junta curfew and lockdown laws need to be abided by every one.
Moreover strictly following 21 days lock down in houses,and also taking care of a section of population who live on daily wages by providing them food and shelter is the collective responsibility of the whole country. Various sections and stratas can do and are doing their bid to contain this virus. Scientists are working at a war footing day and night to develop the required vaccine.Any time the break through is expected but it again has to under go a series of clinical trials that will certainly take time. There fore the only way is to adopt preventive measures .The Government of India with the cooperation and support of State Governments has evolved a strategy to deal with this precarious situation. .These measures are first find out , than isolate, conduct test for confirmation of COVID-19 positive cases treat them in designated hospitals simultaneously trace out their history in terms,contact,travel location and quarantine those with whom they were in contact. Parallelly government of India in consultation with state governments is laying emphasis for the up gradation of health care infrastructure to deal with corona virus like contingencies. A step in this direction is the development of technologies which can be used as preventive measures to curtail the spread of corona virus.To win over this corona menace, premier institutes of the country like IIT,s, CSIR, ICMR,DRDO and many other private institutes/industries have jumped into the fight for development of a number of technologies for front line warriors of COVID-19 as per the requirement. IIT,s across the country are are helping India to fight against corona virus pandemic. The systems /technologies developed by them are drone based sanitizers for sanitizing the public places,PCR( polymeric Chain Reaction) based machine for analysing the samples , mobile app to trace suspected carriers,a cheaper COVID-19 testing kit, face shield prototype, infection proof fabrics and many others. Similarly scientists from DRDO laboratories are leaving no stone unturned to develop and manufacture equipment / systems based on innovative technologies.The mandate of DRDO is to indigenously develop cutting edge technologies for the armed forces.But looking in to the nation’s call at the critical time.DRDO scientists have dedicated them selves to provide critical technologies to warriors of COVID-19 war fighters. As a result number of innovative cost effective products have been developed. First, is the five layered N99 Masks for doctors treating COVID-19 patients in designated hospitals. These N99 masks have two layers embedded with in organic nano structured two dimension material similar to graphine,which makes them full proof against corona virus. Second, the most important is Personnel Sanitizer Enclosure commonly known as “Full Body Disinfection Chamber”.This is a portable system which can disinfect 700 persons at a time .The chamber is fitted with electric pump with provision of showers to generate mist with sodium hypo chloride solution for 20 seconds. Water tank with capacity of 600 litre is placed at the roof of the chamber.The individual has to be in the enclosure for 20 seconds under 360 degree rotation with eyes closed. Third is the bio suit ( commonly known as Personnel protective equipment). This suit is designed with high quality textile with nano embedded coating layers. This suit has potential application for health care workers involved in dealing with COVID-19 patients. Fourthly, the most unique is to customize man packed fire fighting equipment as area sanitizer, multi patient ventilators, hand sanitizers, body suits , face shields and many others. Although DRDO scientists are working round the clock to accomplish the development and production in large numbers. But looking into the present scenario the requirement is going to manifold and colossal.
Therefore, becomes imperative for the Government to step in for arranging and facilitating production at a very large scale within a shortest possible time by cutting short the lengthy procedures. Also the issues like maintenance of quality in production, availability of spare parts, life time support for running the equipment and other details need also to be addressed. The author is of the view that through a multi prong approach adopted by Narendra Modi’s Government with active support from state Governments and with the cooperation of 1.34 billion people of India, will not only emerge victorious against this COVID-19 war but also lead the world in fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.
(The author is former Director General & Special Secretary DRDO MoD GoI)