In a development that will make life easier for thousands of healthcare professionals in the country fighting COVID-19, the Indian Navy has developed and patented a comfortable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) with easy breathability. These PPEs feel less hot and humid when worn by the professionals on duty.
The PPE has been developed by a doctor of Indian Navy, posted at the recently created Innovation Cell at Institute of Naval Medicine (INM), Mumbai. A pilot batch of PPEs has already been produced at Naval Dockyard Mumbai.
The PPE is made of a special fabric which affords a high level of protection along with high 'breathability' compared to other PPEs available in the market and is more suited to a country like India where hot and humid weather is prevalent. The technology has also been tested and validated by ICMR approved Testing Lab, said a government statement.
Studies have shown globally, most of the doctors and paramedics who wear PPEs have been found to suffer from less ventilation, heat stress, sweating and liquid loss and breathing issues while working at a humid environment.
At present most hospitals in India employ health professionals for a minimum of continuous six hours on duty to save PPEs. India was mostly dependent on imported PPEs before the COVID-19 crisis and now makes over 2 lakh PPEs a day, by 15-odd manufacturers. It is estimated that over 3000 PPEs a month are required for healthcare workers at a 50 bedded COVID-19 centre to treat patients.
A patent for the low cost, mass-producible PPE has been successfully filed by the Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC) of the Ministry of Defence, in association with the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) of the Ministry of Science & Technology.
A core team of Navy, IPFC and NRDC is working to commence mass production. NRDC is identifying eligible firms to take up licensed production of the PPEs to fast-track the process. The PPEs can be produced indigenously at an affordable cost without much capital investment.