COVID-19: Pune’s AFMC develops ‘Raksha Kawach’- a patient isolation device; how this helps

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November 5, 2020 11:57 AM

While all healthcare workers (HCWs) have been careful and using proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when they are on duty, the intensive care units (ICUs) and wards that were designated for Coronavirus infected patients, became a part of closed spaces that fuel more transmissions.

The canopy is lightweight and can be installed easily. Image: IE

Pune AFMC’s Raksha Kawach launched! As the Coronavirus cases increase in Pune, the risk for COVID-19 transmission in the city’s healthcare workers has also increased. While all healthcare workers (HCWs) have been careful and using proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when they are on duty, the intensive care units (ICUs) and wards that were designated for Coronavirus infected patients, became a part of closed spaces that fuel more transmissions. Therefore, all HCWs were under a higher risk of getting infected with Coronavirus. According to a report by The IE, strategies for oxygen delivery including non-invasive ventilation as well as high-flow nasal cannula are responsible for generating a large amount of viral aerosols.

In a bid to reduce the contagious aerosols in hospitals (especially in ICUs), the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune has introduced ‘Raksha Kawach.’ This , ‘Raksha Kawach,’ according to the report, is a patient isolation device that will be able to protect all healthcare workers from infectious aerosols. The report highlighted that Lt Col (Dr) Shamik Kr Paul, a neuro-anaesthesiologist and an assistant professor at AFMC’s department of anaesthesia and critical care along with Dr Ajay Suryavanshi, a biomedical engineer and an alumnus of IIT Bombay led a team to make this isolation device. While the device is designed to contain the spread of Coronavirus, the report said that it can also be used in minimizing any contagious load or airborne diseases in a hospital’s atmosphere.

It is to note that Raksha Kawach, having two modules, is a compact and portable device which can offer cost-effective aerosol control. The two modules of the device include a retractable canopy unit that can create a physical barrier (to be placed around the patient) and a fan-filter unit that is aimed at scavenging and filtering the contaminated air. The canopy used in the device is made up of a disposable and transparent enclosure. The report noted that a reusable plastic frame is also used along with some detachable components. Further, the fan-filter unit will clear the aerosols (selectively) that are released from the patient. The filter will apply negative pressure by suction blower over the patient’s exhale cloud. This will filter through the high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) as well as Ultraviolet C radiation to push out the decontaminated air.

According to the report, the canopy is lightweight and can be installed easily. It has been designed in such a way that the canopy can be packed and carried in a bag. Also, it is big enough to not cause any claustrophobic symptoms in patients. A National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited testing facility has given validation for the safety and effectiveness of this device, the report said.

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