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Premier institutes’ anti-corona innovations stuck in first gear

Premier educational institutions in the country, including Anna University in Chennai, have come up with several innovative low-cost products like reusable face masks, alternatives to ventilators and robotic drug and food carrying units to help in the fight against coronavirus.

Premier institutes’ anti-corona innovations stuck in first gear
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However, these are far from reaching the public as the procedure to mass produce these is a long process due to red tape. A team of researchers from Anna University had recently come out with a reusable and cost-effective mask made with a polyester pile fabric that can be washed and reused up to 20 times. But it is stuck at the prototype stage itself.

Similarly, IIT Hyderabad had asked the Centre to consider adopting ‘bag valve mask’ as an alternative to meet any surge in demand for ventilators. Other IITs developed equipment including robotic drug and food carrying units to work in isolation wards and screening units, large and high capacity autoclave machines among others.

But none of these ideas have been taken forward yet. Former vice-chancellor of Anna University E Balagurusamy told DT Next that it would take a minimum of three to six months for the government to approve them for public use. “Even if the procedure to approve them is simplified, industries should come forward to produce them in large numbers,” he pointed out.

It was up to the vice-chancellors institution directors to reach out to the authorities as the government, especially during a crisis, may not be aware of the inventions. “In addition, the industry department should also chip in to immediately identify firms that can manufacture them,” he said.

Also, in such situations, the institutions should not claim patent that would entail a long procedure, Balagurusamy added.

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