COVID-19 News

Step up the pace globally if universal vaccination could lead us out of the pandemic

The Covid pandemic has hard drilled the lesson why the health and social security of each one of us is inter-dependent on the health and social security of one another. But do we see more equity (or inequity) in the Covid response, such as the rollout of the vaccination worldwide? Inequitable distribution of vaccine, diagnostics, oxygen, personnel protective equipment, and other necessary essential tools have been plaguing the Covid response due to which we are unable to fully break the chain of infection transmission by prevention measures, and reduce the severity of the disease for those who get infected. What is the global population? The global population is around 7.8 billion people. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that globally 5.5 billion doses of Covid vaccines have been administered but 80% of these vaccinations have happened in rich nations. Rich nations promised to donate 1 billion doses but less than 15% of this promise has been kept so far. The WHO is mobilizing all countries worldwide to vaccinate 10% of the population fully by September 2021, and 40% by December 2021, and 70% by June 2022. 90% of rich nations have already reached the target of fully vaccinating at least 10% of their population, and 70% of rich nations have already reached the 40% target. But not a single low-income country has reached either of the targets so far, alarmed Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. That is why Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is appealing to all the governments not to give booster the third dose of Covid vaccines till the end of this year so that everyone worldwide can get a chance of being fully vaccinated. If we are to find our way out of the pandemic, then universal vaccination is an essential cog in the wheel towards this journey – but the window is fast closing! India has already achieved two times more than the WHO September end target India which began Covid vaccination on 16 January 2021, reported over 20% full vaccination of eligible population by mid-September 2021. Noted infectious diseases expert Dr Ishwar Gilada,…


#Health: Bengaluru scientists develop off-grid mobile oxygen concentrator

Mobile oxygen concentrator launched New Delhi, July 02nd 2021:  A team of researchers at Bengaluru-based Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, has designed a robust, mobile oxygen concentrator that can be used in rural settings and be rapidly deployed in emergencies in any location. The second wave of COVID-19 had witnessed an acute shortage of medical oxygen in different parts of the country. While the crisis in the bigger cities was more about responding by overcoming supply chain limitations, in smaller cities and villages, the crisis exposed a chronic lack of medical oxygen infrastructure.  Overcoming the crisis required combining the advantages of personalized Oxygen concentrators for home uses with a capacity of 5 to 10 litres per minute (lpm) and Oxygen plants with a capacity of 500 lpm for large hospitals. The 500 lpm plants for hospitals are robust. But, they lacked the portability required for deployment in resource-poor settings. The personal concentrators, on the other hand, were portable but too fragile to be used on a sustained basis in hospital settings. There was a need for a robust technology with necessary portability. The team at JNCASR has come up with a solution that meets the requirement, addressing, among other things, the several novel design challenges posed for the sourcing of materials. The device is based on the principles of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology. The team replaced lithium zeolites (LiX) which is usually used in oxygen concentrators, with sodium zeolites which does not generate toxic solid waste and can be manufactured in India. Although the science behind is well understood, developing an engineering solution that can work with sodium in a portable device and fill this specific market gap when there are severe sourcing problems posed engineering challenges. Obstacles had to be overcome at each stage of the cycle, from working with the available zeolites to effective ways of dehumidifying and designing the right adsorption-pressure cycle. Named OxyJani, the device is modular and can deliver a range of solutions. It is an entirely off-grid…

Health news

The good news amidst the nationwide Oxygen shortage

New Delhi, 22 April 2021. India is reeling under an unprecedented wave of COVID-19 infections. India’s number of COVID infections reported in a single day has surpassed the previous highest one-day rise in the world reported by the United States in January 2021. COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization. Severe illness caused by coronavirus calls for oxygen therapy. CSIR-CMERI developed a new Oxygen enrichment technology Currently, there is a massive short supply of medical-grade oxygen across the country. CSIR-CMERI (Council of scientific and industrial research- Central mechanical engineering research institute) has developed a new Oxygen enrichment technology that may help meet the demand for medical Oxygen and minimize the supply chain hassles of transportation and storage risks related to the handling of its cylinders. The technology has been virtually transferred to M/s Apollo Computing Laboratories (P) Ltd., Hyderabad, for industrial production, today. Speaking on the occasion, Professor Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, has said that the new technology requires easily available oil-free reciprocating compressors, Oxygen grade zeolite sieves, and pneumatic components. It is capable of delivering medical air in the range of up to 15 LPM with Oxygen purity of over 90%. “If required this unit can deliver up to 70 LPM with a purity of around 30% and can safely be placed in the isolation ward of the hospital for patients who are in dire need of Oxygen”, says Professor Hirani. The technology will help improve the accessibility of Oxygen in the remotest places and widest points of need. The outreach factor of Oxygen will be multiplied through the adoption of this in-situ and decentralized generation of Oxygen. Professor Hirani also mentioned ongoing research to develop a pulse dose mode, capable of sensing the breathing pattern of a patient and then deliver during the inhalation itself. “This mode is supposed to reduce the Oxygen demand by around 50% when compared with the current version of continuous mode”,  Hirani expressed confidence. CSIR-CMERI has already invited expression of interest from Indian companies/manufacturing agencies/ MSMEs/ Startups, for manufacturing Oxygen enrichment…