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When Everything Halted, India’s Spirit of Innovation is On Display

spirit of innovation

The Corona lockdown has made many things come to a standstill. However, there are things in India that have gained momentum due to the prevailing condition. The recent budget and planning exercises have talked much about innovations and entrepreneurship, and many experts are of the opinion that this is the only way through which any country becomes an economic power. The present crisis seems to be reiterating the fact that India has the immense potential to rise to the occasion and invent in quick time at scale.

Whether it is ramping up the scale of medical infrastructure using the lockdown window or quickly converting the Railway coaches to isolation wards, it is this innovative and entrepreneurial mind of India that is hard at work.

Here are some innovative sparks India has exhibited to mitigate this trying time. Of course, many of these efforts are at initial stages; however, it does not lower the significance and potential of India in innovations.

Kit That is Different from the World

Seagull BioSolutions, a startup funded by the Department of Science and Technology is undertaking the development of Active Virosome (AV)-Vaccine and Immunodiagnostic kits for COVID-19 emergency.

Let’s know about the kits. The statement says, “Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based diagnostic kits which are currently available in India are rapid & enable detection of active COVID 19 infection but cannot identify asymptomatic infections or those people who were exposed to or infected with COVID-19 in the past and did not suffer from the disease or have recovered from COVID-19 disease and may still be spreading the virus. In contrast, Immunodiagnostic kits help in detection of antibodies to COVID – which can identify these infections also.”

It is also involved in finding a vaccine for COVID-19.

Novel Blood Plasma Therapy

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) has obtained a go-ahead for “convalescent-plasma therapy”, the treatment that aims at using the immune power gained by a recovered person to treat a sick person.

The therapy is explained in this press release, “When a pathogen like novel coronavirus infects, our immune systems produce antibodies. Like the police dogs, the antibodies span out to identify and mark the invading virus. White blood cells attach the identified intruders, and the body gets rid of the infection. The therapy, like blood transfusion, harvests the antibody from a recovered patient and ingest into a sick person. Helped by the antibody, the immune system mounts robust combat on the virus.”

Device to Enrich Oxygen Supply

In more heartening news, according to the global experience of COVID-19, about 4% need ICU based ventilators. But 14% infections require some kind of respiratory support. So, it is not just about ventilators that the system should worry about.

India has found an indigenous solution in this aspect.

Genrich Membranes, Pune, funded by the Department of Science and Technology is scaling up Membrane Oxygenator Equipment (MOE) that it has developed to treat COVID-19 patients. Based on innovative, indigenous hollow-fibre membrane technology, the MOE enriches oxygen in the air up to 35% under pressure (4-7 bar, using oil-free compressor).

Ventilators & Other Efforts

Many in the manufacturing industry are dedicating their resources to the production of ventilators. SCTIMST tied up with Wipro Bengaluru to jointly build up on a prototype of an emergency ventilator system based on Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU). Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Telephone Industries Ltd (ITI) are tying up to produce portable ventilators. Many institutes under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are trying to leverage capacity in this aspect.

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is producing many useful components helpful in fighting COVID-19 such as portable tent beds, sanitizers, and fumigation chambers.

In another example of entrepreneurial spirit coming to the fore, Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are largely involved in stitching masks.

The best thing you hear on this front of innovations is that the crisis has inspired the young minds shaped by Atal Innovation Mission to try their bit in rising to the occasion.

Thus, the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship is on display across India in many shades. Acknowledging this and encouraging them in the right direction, even after this COVID-19 fiasco hopefully ends, will certainly help the nation to achieve greater heights.