COVID-19: the flying superhero of Covid-19

Covid-19 has imposed a new way of working that leads almost all companies in an atmosphere of uncertainty to reorganize their work process. The current working approach, in fact, is not working. A new solution is needed. In everything from agriculture and disaster management to surveillance and hospitals, the new era demands digital transformation.

A few days ago, during the time of the Minister of Pandemics of the Civil Aviation Union, Jyotiraditya Scindia opened Sky Medications, which aims to transport drugs using drones to basic health facilities. .

Even if India has a well-structured vaccine distribution infrastructure through its universal vaccination program, the COVID-19 vaccination campaign would be a massive undertaking. Despite the fact that India has the largest rail and road networks in the world, overcoming logistical challenges would require the development of a new, efficient way to transport vaccines, given the enormous size of the country and the fact that 67% of the population lives in rural India. This is where a drone-based delivery system comes in handy. Drones could make life-saving medicines, such as vaccinations, more accessible and faster, especially in rural areas.

Drone delivery of medical products will also help better manage scarce resources and enable just-in-time delivery within the current supply chain structure.

In the near future, there will be five drone use cases that will change and improve healthcare.

Transport of blood products and hazardous materials:

Hazardous materials must be transported in complete safety and in accordance with specific standards relating to hazardous materials (hazardous materials). This is not necessarily a use case that meets an unmet need in the medical sector because it is in progress; however, it is very expensive in many circumstances and urgent in others.


Covid-19 vaccine and drug delivery:

Drones can improve access to pharmaceuticals and life-saving vaccines, as well as the speed at which they are delivered. Wing Copter, for example, provided immunizations for children in Vanuatu, a Pacific island country, three years ago. As a test for future regular deliveries, we have also supplied insulin off the Irish coast. We are currently planning to ship COVID-19 vaccines to Africa and Southeast Asia. We are still in the early stages of deploying drones to deliver medical supplies. There is a lot to learn, a lot to test, and it will all come together in the next 18 months.

Diagnosis is one of the most common uses of drones. Since some diagnostic procedures are time and temperature sensitive, a sample from a patient should be submitted to the laboratory and the test should be performed within a certain time frame, which can be as short as 2 hours. This is where unconnected communities come in, and where drones have an important and growing role.

Due to the limited window of time to move organs from donor to patient, which can range from 4 to 36 hours depending on the type of organ, super-fast transport, such as a private jet or helicopter, is essential. The use of drones can make organ delivery faster, safer and more cost effective. While using drones to transport organs is a reasonable use case, it may take another year or two before it’s feasible. Companies are already doing this, but much of it is in the testing phase.


Drones can also be used to transport small medical items such as Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Some companies have asked if our drone can carry AEDs or other minor medical devices from hospital or emergency medical services to an accident or disaster scene. The answer is yes; Unfortunately, aviation officials will not allow this at this time, but it will undoubtedly happen in the future.

A drone transported 12 kg of medicine and 20 vials of vaccine to a primary health center in Vikarabad district in Telangana within five minutes on September 11, according to reports. marking the start of a paradigm shift in health care delivery. It was the first time that a public service drone had flown beyond the visual field of view (BVLoS) to transport drugs over a distance of 500 meters.

The Telangana government has launched a one-of-a-kind project in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog and Apollo Hospitals Group’s Health Net Global. KT Rama Rao, Minister of Major Industries and Information Technology of Telangana, said, “We have a well-established emerging technology corridor with a separate drone strategy in place. “Telangana has traditionally served as a testing ground for new ideas that can be scaled up across the country. “

Drones from the Medicine from the Sky project can carry 16 kg and travel up to 40 kilometers. Each drone transport box is capable of carrying 1,000 to 2,000 vaccination vials. The capacities differ. “With today’s drones, a helicopter can aid vaccination in remote areas by delivering approximately 2,000 to 5,000 doses of vaccine at two to eight degrees Celsius in a single trip a straight line distance of 20 degrees Celsius. 40 kilometers away, ”according to the company, says Prem Kumar Vislawath, founder of Marut Dronetech.

Medicines, vaccines and life-saving blood can be easily transferred on the spot, trafficking and other obstacles removed.

Intelligent inventory management and resolving out-of-stock issues can help relieve existing pressure and deal with the situation effectively. In fact, several African countries are using drones to distribute vaccines. Also in India, drones have been used in emergency circumstances. “With today’s drones, a helicopter can help with vaccination in remote areas by delivering around 100 vaccines per hour. To combat deadly diseases, it is important to think outside the box and create a rapid drone delivery system for vaccines and emergency drugs. 2,000 to 5,000 doses of vaccine in one flight over a straight line distance of 20 to 40 kilometers at two to eight degrees Celsius “,

In the same way that emergency vaccination was authorized, emergency deliveries by drones may be authorized in the health sector. In addition, policymakers need to recognize that drones are rapidly changing the healthcare environment by enabling faster delivery of essential drugs for survival.

The government has also supported a drone and drone manufacturing incentive program (PLI).

Over the next three years, with the liberalized drone regulations released last month, the Aviation Ministry expects the Rs 5,000 crore manufacturing to generate more than 10,000 direct jobs over the three coming years.

During the 2023-24 financial year, the ministry plans to increase the annual sale of drones in 2020-2021 from Rs 60 to Rs 900.

Edited by Sanjana Simlai.

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