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COVID-19 vaccine delivery through drones? Trials to begin in June in Telangana

The Centre had earlier granted permission to Telangana government's 'Medicine from the Sky' project to use drones for experimental delivery of COVID-19 vaccine.

A drone cannot carry more than 3 kg of weight during the trials. A drone cannot carry more than 3 kg of weight during the trials.

The pilot project for delivering COVID-19 vaccines through drones in Telangana is likely to begin in next 2-3 weeks, with a total of 10,000 vials to be delivered from a central location to primary health centres.

The trials are likely to be completed within 24 days from their start, with seven consortiums delivering vaccines, medicines and blood from district headquarters in Vikarabad to health centres within 15 km radius, Mint quoted S Vijay, COO of Skye Air Mobility, which is part of one of the consortium conducting trials, as saying.

The Centre had earlier granted permission to Telangana government's 'Medicine from the Sky' project to use drones for experimental delivery of COVID-19 vaccine. World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog and Healthnet Global are also collaborating for the project.

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Beside Skye Air Mobility, BlueDart, Med-Express and Dunzo are also part of the consortium. Each consortium will get six days to complete the trials, while two consortium will conduct trials at any given time.

"Blood and vaccines will comprise 1.5 kg, while the cold box (for vaccine storage), dry ice and a data logger (to record temperature) will weigh another 1.5 kg," Vijay was quoted as saying. A drone cannot carry more than 3 kg of weight during the trials.

The entire flight log for trials will have to be submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and every consortium will need to have a safety expert to monitor operations, Vijay said.

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