Mumbai, May 14:
As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, India’s first Covid-19 test bus which facilitates affordable and rapid testing in dense urban areas, was recently launched by the alumni council of Indian Institute of Technology (B) at an isolation centre at Worli in South Central Mumbai.
The bus is capable of conducting 5 million tests per month and will also be able to carry out large scale testing during the monsoons, a statement issued by IIT Alumni Council stated. A bus with mobile digital X-ray machine will go to containment zones so that X-rays can be done on the spot. The medical equipment on board, comprises a low dosage digital X ray, real time tele- radiology, contactless swab collection and instant RNA testing. The bus has been configured keeping in mind heavy rains during monsoon in Mumbai. The bus has 384 sq ft of lab space onboard and also has a wireless robotic tele-operated ultrasound lung probe.
“The IIT Alumni Council has taken a pro-active approach to support the Government’s efforts in fighting the Covid-19 challenge. We have set up the IIT C-19 task force to channelize the energies of the global IIT Alumni for this fight, IIT Alumni Council President Ravi Sharma said.
“The Covid-19 Test Bus is based on indigenous technology and to the best of our knowledge, this is the first vehicle of its kind in the world with onboard genetic testing, AI-based tele- radiology and contactless sample collection. We chose Mumbai as the launch location given the relatively high number of cases in the city,” Sharma added.
The IIT C-19 Test Bus is based on the indigenous “Kodoy Technology Stack” and executed by partner organisations led by IIT alumni. The Kodoy architecture involves e-vehicles for sample selection and telemedicine, algorithm-based pooled genetic testing and indigenous megalabs capable of carrying out, nearly 5 million tests per month per lab.
The bus is an initiative by the C19 Taskforce of IIT Alumni Council, supported by the Health Department of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai(MCGM), bariatric surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakadawala and and Krsnaa Diagnostics.
The move is aimed at supporting the health department in tackling the pandemic that has caused over 400 deaths and nearly 20,000 infections in Maharashtra alone. India’s testing capacity stood at 177 tests per million, as on 15 April, 2020.
In a country of 1.3 billion people, a pandemic such as this necessitates solutions that are affordable, accurate as well as scalable to millions. In the absence of any proven treatment, there is a desperate need for increased levels of testing, particularly in clusters or containment zones, Sharma said.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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