- Team 'Breath Of Hope' was created for mobile COVID-19 unit in Alappuzha
- Mobile COVID-19 testing vehicle is equipped with telemedicine facility
- Mobile COVID-19 testing vehicle can go to remote areas to collect samples
Alappuzha: A mobile COVID-19 testing vehicle, equipped with telemedicine facility and a public address system, was launched in Alappuzha on Saturday (May 30). It can go to remote areas in order to collect samples. Public Works Department (PWD) Minister, G Sudhakaran was also present on the occasion. Speaking to ANI, a team member Dr Praveen said, “There was a requirement from Alappuzha, of a vehicle that can go to remote places to take samples as Kerala has reported more number of cases. We also incorporated telemedicine and a public address facility inside this vehicle”.
Frontline health workers getting exposed during sample collection not only reduces the manpower but can also act as an amplifying host for the virus, which can spread the infection to many other people, he said.
— ANI (@ANI) May 30, 2020
Similarly shifting of the patients to the testing centers also requires great manpower and has a risk of spreading infection through contamination. The Point of care sample collection was the solution. In an attempt to make a mobile sample collection unit with all the required infection control measures, a team was constituted of some open-source engineers (electrical/ chemical/ mechanical), doctors, and other experts, termed–‘Breath Of Hope’.
The team started working on the requirement on a war foot and all efforts were evaluated scientifically.
The TRACE (Test and Response Automobile for COVID-19 Emergency) thus built, evolved beyond a simple sample collection technique to a well-equipped vehicle for sample collection and clinical examination of the patient, with the doctor not coming in contact with the suspect by any means.
Vitals such as pulse rate, body temperature, and oxygen saturation are measured outside the vehicle itself and recorded in the EMR kept inside the car. Using Bluetooth enabled stethoscope the doctor can check for any serious respiratory signs. The throat swab is then taken by ‘No contact method’, properly labelled, and stored.
Collected samples are kept in a specially designed collection box that stores the samples in subzero temperatures for long hours. To manage extremes of emergency a deep freezer is attached to the vehicle which can keep the sample safe for days, maintaining the cold chain. Infection control measures have been undertaken with the utmost caution, read the press release.
“Automated sanitizer dispensers are installed outside for the users. To prevent contamination with outside air, inside of the vehicle is always maintained at a positive pressure gradient. Also, the HEPA filters ensure ‘zero virus’ in the atmosphere inside the vehicle. Disinfection chambers are set up for the disinfection of equipment used for each patient. The biomedical waste generated inside the vehicle is moved to a special container that can be accessed only from outside ensuring zero contamination in the vehicle,” it read.