Covid-19 Inventions In India Over The Last Few Months

Covid-19 Inventions In India Over The Last Few Months

Over the last few weeks, a lot of new inventions which can help in the fight against Covid-19 have received approval for use in India. Let us have a look at some of them which are developed by several organizations and individuals across the country.

Crux of the Matter

Here is a list of few of the Covid-19 inventions in the country:

Coviself

  • It is a Rapid Antigen test kit developed by Mylab Discovery Solutions.
  • Coviself is India’s first self-use, home-based test kit.
  • It is priced at ₹250. 

Cov-Tech

  • Invented by Nihal Singh Adarsh, it is a ventilation system for PPE suit.
  • It creates steady airflow inside the suit and is priced at ₹5,499 per piece.

DIPCOVAN

  • It is developed by DRDO in association with Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd.
  • It is an antibody detection kit which gives results in 75 minutes.
  • The cost of this is ₹75.

Oxygen Recycling System (ORS)

  • Developed by Indian Army, it can extend the life of medical oxygen by 2 to 4 times.
  • Similarly, IIT-Bombay developed ‘Re-Breather’ which can reduce ventilator oxygen waste by 85% by recycling it.

Ventilators And Oxygen Concentrator
VSSC, a facility of ISRO developed three cost-effective ventilators and an oxygen concentrator

  • PRANA– it delivers oxygen by automated compression of Ambu bag
  • SVASTA– it is a ventilator which can work without electricity
  • VaU– it is a dual-mode ventilator which can function with both medical oxygen and air.
  • Shwaas– it is a portable oxygen concentrator.

A Multiplex RT-PCR Kit

  • Developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology.
  • Helps in detecting Covid-19 mutants/strains.
  • It is 97% sensitive and 100% Specific.

Mobile Low-Pressure Oxygen System
It is developed by Indian Army and can convert liquid oxygen into oxygen gas.

Curiopedia
  • René Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1816 at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris. A phonendoscope is a stethoscope that amplifies auscultatory sounds.
  • In 1899, Jean-Louis Prévost and Frédéric Batelli, two physiologists from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, were the first people to demonstrate the concept of a Defibrillator. In 1930, the external defibrillator was invented by electrical engineer William Kouwenhoven.
  • The modern disposable catheters were developed by David S. Sheridan in the 1940s. He was given the name of the “Catheter King” by the Forbes magazine in 1988 and also started and sold four different catheter companies.

Chinese Scientists Explored Weaponising Coronavirus, Claims New Report

Early theories of Coronavirus being a man-made biological weapon have resurfaced again in the light of recent reports, which claim that China had first discussed the idea in 2015. However, US, which is alleged to have found that report, is also being linked to it. Let’s look at what’s going on.

Crux of the Matter

Recently
Reports in Australia have claimed that a 2015 document was obtained by US State Department while investigating origin of Coronavirus.

What DidThe Paper Say
The paper, titled “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons”, was reportedly written by scientist of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.

As per the alleged paper, Chinese scientists labelled SARS coronavirus as new era of genetic weapons. The scientists also claimed that those viruses could be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human-disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before”.

The News
The news has come after WHO investigation claimed that it was ‘unlikely’ the virus was man-made. However, the investigation was widely called ‘incomplete’ as China gave ‘limited access‘ to investigators. It has also brought the Wuhan Institute of Virology to forefront again, as the institute is associated with controversial gain of function research.

Gain Of Function Research
The research is also done in other countries, most notably in US. Several reports claim that it was banned under Obama, only to be allowed again under Trump. Some reports also claim that US has backed China’s ‘gain of function’ studies.

For example, as per Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, New York’s EcoHealth Alliance had “funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology”.

Take a look at what is Gain of Function research here: Why Is Gain Of Function Research Making News Amidst The Pandemic?

Curiopedia
  • Opened for signature on 10 April, 1972, Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is a disarmament treaty banning biological and toxin weapons. 183 States have ratified or acceded to the treaty as of May, 2021.

Why Is Gain Of Function Research Making News Amidst The Pandemic?

Why Is Gain Of Function Research Making News Amidst The Pandemic?

Since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, the scientific community is debating regarding the transparency of virus research. This is specifically regarding the federally funded research that involves making pathogens more deadly or more transmissible for research purposes. But is it worth it if it can risk the public health in case it escapes the lab environment? How do we make it more ethical? Let’s first understand the basics of Gain of Function research for this.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Gain Of Function?
GoF is a study that involves creation of pathogens with additional functionalities than occur in nature. This could even lead to creation of pathogens that are more transmissible and deadlier.

Why Would We Do That?
It is performed to understand the way in which a pathogen adapts to environmental pressures. This allows disease control measures to be better planned, and potential vaccines to be explored. Also research on bio-weapons and vaccines is carried out in case a malicious entity weaponises such pathogens.

Controversy With GoF
In 2012, a team worked on a paper, Airborne Transmission of Influenza A/H5N1 Virus Between Ferrets for genetically modifying H5V1 virus by creating a strain that was airborne in ferrets. This demonstrated that it was possible for the avian influenza virus to become transmissible in air and that the strain was sensitive to certain antiviral drugs.

Research Stopped
 The possibility of an accidental or intentional malicious release of such a virus caused the US to halt funding for GoF research relating to influenza, SARS, or MERS in 2014.

Research Restarted
In 2017, National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity concluded that very few such experiments posed a risk to public safety. So the ban was lifted and White House developed an ethical analysis white paper.

What’s In The White Paper

Transparency In Research
In such analysis, expert-panel members are not publicly available, nor are its reviews of study proposals.

We’re not trying to say the policy is wrong, we’re trying to say the policy is ambiguous

Marc Lipsitch, Harvard epidermiologist

Unknown Origins Of Covid-19
There have been theories about Covid-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 emerging as a result of Gain of Function research. That’s because the pandemic started in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, which also houses the Wuhan Institute of Virology, that conducts research on bat coronaviruses. Till date, we don’t know if Covid-19 originated in the wild or in the lab.

Curiopedia
  • The word Pathogenic came into existence in 1852 and the word Pathogen was derived from ‘Pathogenic’ during the 1880s. In Greek, the word Pathogenic means “origin of suffering“.
  • Antonie van Leeuwenhoek invented the first microscope in the 1600s. It was a single lens microscope made with a very small glass ball lens. With the help of that microscope he then rediscovered the red blood cells and Spermatozoa.
  • Fungi’s medicinal significance was discovered in 1928 by Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming. Fungi can also be eaten; for example, certain mushrooms, morels, and truffles are considered epicurean delicacies, and mycoproteins (fungal proteins) obtained from the mycelia of some fungi are used to produce high-protein foods.

How DRDO Is Acting As India’s Defence Against Covid

How DRDO Is Acting As India's Defence Against Covid

DRDO, India’s premier organization for defence research, has a rich history of indigenous innovation in the field. However, amidst Covid pandemic, it has upped its innovations to help citizens against the disease. With its most recent innovation being the anti-Covid drug, let’s look at that and some other contributions.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Drug Approval
DGCI recently gave emergency approval to anti-Covid drug developed by DRDO. The drug was developed in collaboration with:

  • Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences of DRDO.
  • Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad.

The drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) is to be taken orally after mixing in water.

[The drug] helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence. Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in COVID patients.

PIB release

Other DRDO Innovations To Fight Covid
The other innovations, initiatives and measures undertaken by the organisation to help the citizens fight the virus include:

COVSACK (COVID Sample Collection Kiosk)

  • Patient goes inside kiosk.
  • Sample taken from outside with shielding screen and built-in gloves.
  • Completely automatic disinfection.

DRUVS (Defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitiser)

  • Contactless cabinet as working on sensors.
  • 360 degree exposure to objects inside.
  • Useful for sanitising laptops, phones, papers, etc.

Medical Oxygen Plants (MOP)

  • Based on oxygen generation system used in fighter aircraft Tejas.
  • Capacity: 1,000 litres oxygen/minute.
  • Catering to 190 patients at a time.
  • 2 plants set up in Delhi – 500 more expected around the country.

Covid Hospitals

  • Most notably, DRDO has set up several Covid hospitals across country.
  • These beds have oxygen support, while some are kept with ventilators.

Some of the cities where the hospitals are present (along with number of beds) is as follows:

  • Ahmedabad: 900 beds.
  • Delhi: 500 beds.
  • Patna: 500 beds.
  • Lucknow: 500 beds.

Several more such hospitals around the country expected soon.

Curiopedia
  • BrahMos is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world. DRDO along with Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya created the ‘BrahMos’ supersonic missiles.
  • Siachen Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield, controlled by the Indian army. It is at a height of 5400 metres above sea level.
  • The motto of DRDO is “Balasya Mulam Vigyanam”. It means “Strength’s Origin is in Knowledge”.

How Is India Inc Helping The Nation Fight Covid?

How Is India Inc Helping The Nation Fight Covid?

While India is grappling with the second wave of Covid 19, Indian Corporate is stepping up and contributing to tackle it. In the past year, major aid came on social and humanitarian grounds. Whereas in 2021, funds are utilized to support the infrastructural demand. From big business houses to niche startups, each firm is donating its bit. Let’s look at some of them.

Crux of the Matter

In one of the most unprecedented times, the Corporate India is stepping up to support not only its employees but also other people. Let’s see how from conglomerates to startup, many companies are doing their bit to tackle Covid-19.

Startups To The Rescue

  • Paytm will continue to pay salary for the current fiscal to the families of its 8 employees who succumbed due to Covid.
  • Zomato will provide 100% of the income to the family of the deceased employees for 2 years.
  • Flipkart will give paid Covid Care Leave of 28 calendar days in case an employee is diagnosed with Covid.
  • Urban Company set up Mohit Agrawal relief fund of ₹1 crore in the memory of the company’s Director of Engineering who died due to Covid-19.
  • Byju’s formed a ₹20 crore fund to support Covid expenses of employees.
  • Unacademy raised $1million Covid Fund to avail free vaccinations to employees and educators.

Infrastructural Aid

  • JSW Steel is supplying 1000 MT of oxygen per day and plans to ramp it further.
  • Reliance Industries is supplying 700 MT of oxygen per day and plans to scale it up to 1000 MT/day.
  • Amazon India airlifted 8,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines from Singapore.
  • ITC Ltd airlifted 24 cryogenic ISO containers, 20 tonnes each from Asian countries. It is also setting up a 200 bed medical facility in Kolkata.
  • Adani Group imported 4 cryogenic tanks with 80 MT of liquid oxygen from Saudi Arabia.
  • ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India is supplying 200 MT of liquid oxygen per day to Gujarat. They have also set up a 250-bed Covid hospital in Hazira in collaboration with the Gujarat government.

Financial Aid

Tata’s No Limit Covid Care
Tata Trust’s Chairman, Ratan Tata and Tata Group’s Chairman N Chandrasekaran directed to have no limit in Covid funding. The group and trust have collectively pledged ₹2000 crore to date for Covid Care.

Major initiatives include:

  • Converting 1500 hotel rooms in Indian hotels to hospital beds.
  • Tata Projects setting up labour camps with food and stay facilities for migrant workers.
  • Tata Steel supplying up to 800 MT of medical liquid oxygen a day.
  • Tata Trusts organising medical training programmes for volunteers.
  • Collaborating with Linde to airlift oxygen containers from Singapore, China and Dubai to India.

Curiopedia
  • Shah Rukh Khan is the current brand Ambassador of Byju’s. Former co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin Invested $1 billion in Byju’s in April, 2021. The current evaluation of Byju’s is around $15 billion.
  • Originally Zomato was known by the name of “FoodieBay”. The name of Zomato is a wordplay around the word Tomato.
  • Flipkart was founded by former Amazon employees Sachin and Binny Bansal in October 2007. In 2018, Walmart bought 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 Billion.