Drones have become increasingly valuable in the healthcare sector, not just for delivering vaccines and medicines but also for transporting blood bags during emergency situations. In a groundbreaking development, a validation study successfully transported 10 units of whole blood samples from The Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) and Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) using a drone.
The inaugural flight, conducted at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology (JIIT) in Noida, operated within the visual line of sight. Dr. Rajeev Bahl, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), explained that the drone, known as ‘i-DRONE,’ was initially employed during the COVID-19 pandemic for vaccine distribution to inaccessible areas. Now, the focus has shifted to transporting blood and blood-related products that require low temperatures. The experiment demonstrated that the drone effectively maintained the required temperature and ensured the integrity of the transported products. A comparison with samples transported by an ambulance will determine if the drone delivery method can be implemented nationwide.
#WATCH | Delhi: In a first in India, validation of blood bags delivered by drones compared to the conventional method of transportation was done today.
#WATCH | This ‘i-DRONE’ was first used during covid19 pandemic by ICMR for distributing vaccines to unreachable areas. Today, we are transporting blood & blood-related products, which are supposed to be kept at a low temperature. After the experiment, we found that not only can…
ICMR has been at the forefront of utilizing drones for healthcare purposes and has successfully delivered medical supplies, vaccines, and medicines to remote regions in Manipur and Nagaland. Dr. Nivedita Gupta, Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR, highlighted the challenges in timely blood delivery, particularly in remote areas and congested cities. The drone-based delivery system aims to significantly reduce delivery time within districts.
Monitoring and validating the movement of drones is crucial to ensure the quality and integrity of delicate bodily fluids like blood, according to Dr. Sumit Aggarwal. Prof. Pammi Gauba, Dean of A&R and Head of the Department of Biotechnology at JIIT, emphasized the collaborative nature of the study, involving ICMR, Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), and Jaypee Institute of Information Technology (JIIT).
The protocol development, study design, implementation, and coordination of the project are led by Dr. Sumit Aggarwal, Dr. Kuldeep Nigam, and Dr. Nupur Mahajan from ICMR-Headquarters. This ICMR-funded project is conducted under the guidance of Prof. Pammi Gauba (JIIT), Prof. Anita Nangia, and Prof. Sangeeta Pahuja (LHMC), Prof. Rambha Pathak, and Prof. Shalini Bahadur (GIMS).
The validation study was inaugurated at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology in Noida, with the presence of dignitaries from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Directorate of Health Research, National Health Systems Resource Centre, Directorate General Health Services, and NITI Aayog.
Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research, emphasized the importance of addressing challenges, finding solutions, and utilizing indigenous research capacities and technological innovations. Technology, including drone delivery systems, has played a significant role in India’s progress towards achieving high vaccine coverage and the development goals envisioned by the Prime Minister.