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In its stride to constantly innovate through multiple proactive approaches to come up with sustainable solutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Anant National University (AnantU) developed ‘Anant Mobile COVID-19 Testing and Oxygen Auto-rickshaw’. The auto-rickshaw provides an affordable, compact, effective and contact-free mobile facility for COVID-19 testing, which is also equipped with oxygen supply for emergencies as well as advanced X-ray technology.

The auto-rickshaw comes in two variants – one which only collects samples (priced at Rs 5.1 lakh) while the other with an x-ray testing facility (priced at Rs 11.5 lakh), – and is making it one of the most affordable testing facilities globally. With the easy door-to-door access, it can facilitate testing of nearly 500 people in a day.

Patients with mild symptoms can benefit from the emergency oxygen facility with the help of oxygen cylinders installed in the vehicle. Both the versions of the auto–rickshaw are equipped with a stretcher and oxygen supply, which enables swift and hassle-free transportation of patients to the hospital.

The auto-rickshaw has been compartmentalized into three sections – front, middle and rear, each separated by a transparent sheet, to ensure social distancing – for driver, health worker and the patient respectively. The patient’s area is equipped with a sanitizer spray that will be activated by four jet nozzles that thoroughly disinfects the area, each time a patient leaves the chamber. A special material – tarp – which helps naturally insulate and keep interiors cool are used to make the roof and sides of the health workers and patient’s compartments.

The entire equipment works on a diesel generator fitted atop the vehicle that ensures 24×7 operation.

Mechanism

Health Workers’ Compartment

The health workers’ compartment has facilities one for swab collection and the other for X-ray, each with a separate entry. The swab collection facility can accommodate two health workers. They will face a transparent screen with two outlets, so that their hands could reach out to the patients for testing. Similarly, the X-ray compartment is fitted with a computer screen, printer and processor that will be handled by the health worker, who will immediately deliver test results

X-ray Testing Facility:

Equipped with an X-ray machine and an adjustable seat for the patient, the facility will be helpful in carrying out chest x-ray scans to test white opacities in lungs – commonly found in advanced COVID-19 patients. The compartment has a separate entry at the rear-end.

Delivery of Results and Follow-up Action

Patients will receive results of the test done by swab collection from the lab. As far as x-ray is concerned, patients will be immediately given the results. If a patient is found to be positive, a health facility in the area will be immediately alerted so that the patient can be taken to the hospital or quarantined as may be required. Emergency care through oxygen supply will be readily available for patients who exhibit acute symptoms such as breathlessness.

Project Details

Initiated and led by Dr Miniya Chatterji, Director of Anant Centre for Sustainability and CEO Sustain Labs, the Anant COVID-19 Testing and Oxygen Auto-rickshaw has been designed by Mr Dhaval Monani, Director of Affordable Housing and Associate Professor, Anant National University. Mr Joel Fernando, Visual Designer and Multimedia Associate at Anant National University assisted in the development of the prototype. Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Provost, Anant National University is the advisor to the project.

The testing facility, which is designed in consultation with medical experts and research laboratories, can both be operated by government and non-government bodies – approved by ICMR to conduct testing activities in their area. Besides, the team at AnantU has also been transforming vacant spaces across India into temporary hospitals and quarantine centres. A total of 720 beds have been developed thus far, in an effective and highly affordable manner.

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