Kerala

A way on wheels for contact-free testing

The team that runs the Rapid Testing Vehicle, which reportedly helps to avoid human contact while taking test samples.

The team that runs the Rapid Testing Vehicle, which reportedly helps to avoid human contact while taking test samples.  

The district administration here has rolled out a unique Rapid Testing Vehicle (RTV) as part of its Total India Remote Analysis Nirogya Abhiyan (TIRANGA) project, facilitating a smoother, safer and people-friendly way of collecting throat and nasal swabs for screening people for SARS-CoV-2.

Vinay Goyal, Thiruvalla Sub Collector who is a medical doctor, duly backed by District Collector P.B. Noohu, is the brain behind the novel project. TIRANGA comprise two modified vehicles—one an automated non-contact rapid screening vehicle that avoids undue exposure of health workers to suspected patients and the other a Rapid Testing Vehicle (RTV) that facilitates contact-free collection of throat and nasal swabs of suspected COVID-19 patients.

Rapid Testing Vehicle

Dr Goyal told The Hindu that RTV was a wonderful concept and the need of the hour. The vehicle had two chambers and a glass window with projected gloves separating them. The cabin driver and doctor would sit in the front and in the rear chamber the person whose sample was to be taken would sit. A mike system was placed in it for communication with the person. There was also a facility in the vehicle for keeping the Viral Transport Media (VTM) in cold storage.

After taking 10 to 15 samples, the rear cabin would be fumigated for 15 minutes using formaldehyde for disinfection.

Air flow system

Explaining the mechanism further, Dr. Goyal said the airflow system would start after fumigation. Air passage to the chamber was being arranged through an inlet and the air would be treated through a UV chamber before being released out. Sodium Hypochlorite solution was placed on the back side for disinfection of surfaces. Dr Goyal said it took ₹1,00,000 to modify the vehicle with all the equipment.

Technical team

The technical team under Dr. Goyal comprised Dr. Justin Raj, Dr. Jeffy Jacob and Dr. Mamman, all doctors, and Ananthu Gopan, Jinesh M.S., Noble Davis, engineers. According to him, the vehicle as well as the fund for its modification was provided by the Thiruvalla-based NMR foundation.

The RTV would ensure the safety of the healthcare staff, as it helped to avoid human contact while taking the samples. It was also good for the hospital staff, as the samples were being taken on the field and people would not need not come to the hospital.

“We took 20 throat and nasal swab samples on the first day on Saturday and will be able to take 50 to 60 samples on a daily basis,” says Dr Goyal.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 8:34:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/unique-vehicle-rolled-out-for-contact-free-swab-collection/article31835131.ece

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