Nasopharyngeal Swabs


CSIR-NCL Develops Nasopharyngeal Swabs

CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune has developed an indigenous Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for collecting samples from the throat cavity of COVID-19 patients. In the current pandemic scenario, global supplies of NP swabs are not dependable resulting in supply chain delays, escalating prices and variable quality.

Nasopharyngeal swab is a medical device with stringent specifications of quality, polymer grade, dimensions and sterilization. The NP swabs consist of a cylindrical plastic stick with a brush-like tip of synthetic bristles/flocks. Flocking is a very important processing step in the manufacture of medical swabs, which is to align the fine bristles in a parallel orientation on the stick head, much like a tooth brush, except that this has round uniform geometry and the NP swab bristles are of a micron diameter.

CSIR-NCL has transferred the process knowhow of indigenous NP swabs for sample collection to a Mumbai based chemical company under the COVID-19 technology transfer guidelines of CSIR.


CSIR-NCL & BEL Manufacture Oxygen Enrichment Unit

Oxygen enrichment units have special significance in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patient recovery can be faster with supplemental oxygen in the early stages. It can reduce the number of patients who will need ventilators. Post-ventilator treatment patients can be served with this unit, thus reducing the demand of oxygen cylinders. Its portability makes it convenient for using such units in home care, villages and remote places.

A team of scientists led by Dr Ulhas Kharul, Head of the Polymer Science and Engineering Division of CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) have demonstrated the use of hollow fibre membranes to enrich oxygen. The Oxygen Enrichment Unit (OEU) developed by Dr Kharul’s team is efficient in providing 35-40% oxygen concentration from the air with an adjustable flow rate of 0.5-15 lit/min. Atmospheric air at 5-6 bar pressure is passed through the membrane cartridge wherein the oxygen preferentially permeates through the membrane, due to intrinsic higher sorption capacity of oxygen into the membrane matrix.

The technology was licensed to NCL start-up, GEnrich Membranes. About 50 units were assembled and demonstrated in various forums, hospitals and primary health centres. 

With the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, CSIR-NCL applied for certification of a prototype OEU to TUV, Bangalore, which was found to be qualified. “Overcoming several hurdles right from material supply to availability of manpower, CSIR-NCL and GEnrich Membranes quickly assembled three units during the lockdown period,” stated Dr Kharul. Naidu Hospital at Pune is testing these units for treating mildly hypoxic Covid-19 patients for more than a month.

CSIR-NCL has tied up with Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), Pune for the manufacture of OEU along with GEnrich. 


CSIR-CSIO Develops Protective Eyewear for Healthcare Professionals

CSIR-CSIO, Chandigarh, has come up with a technology for precision manufacturing of safety goggles for the healthcare professionals involved in treating high-viral load COVID-19 patients. The technology has been transferred to the Sark Industries, Chandigarh, for commercialisation and mass production.

The conjunctiva membrane, located inside the eyelid to lubricate the eyeballs, is the only exposed mucous membrane of the body. When the eyes are opened, the conjunctiva membrane is also exposed, making it an important but often overlooked entrance for viruses. The protective eyewear is ergonomically designed to provide full cover and efficient sealing of the eye area and would protect the healthcare professionals from hazardous aerosols as well as other suspended particles.

A team of CSIR-CSIO scientists, led by Dr Vinod Karar, Chief Scientist and Head, Optical Devices and Systems, has come up with the affordable and innovative precision manufacturing technique. The goggles are designed with a flexible frame to provide a tighter sealing with the skin of the face covering the eyes and surrounding areas, and can also accommodate prescription glasses. The structure of the goggles consists of a sturdy polycarbonate lens and adjustable elastic strap for ease of wearing and can be used in varied environmental conditions without any fogging or fatigue. 


Intubation Hood

An intubation hood has been developed by CSIR-Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT), Bhubaneswar for doctors who require a transparent hood when carrying out treatment procedures such as intubation. Dentists can also use these during any oral examination. 

The intubation hood is made of acrylic sheets and cutting can be done using laser cutters. Design can be modified based on the special needs of different types of doctors while examining the patients. The technology has been transferred to M/s Gitanjali Awards Pvt. Ltd.


Medical Waste Disinfection Machine

CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicological Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow, in a tie-up with a Lucknow-based start-up has developed a microwave-based disinfection machine called 'Optimiser' which can make PPE kits and N95 masks reusable within 10 minutes. As many as 20 PPE kits and over 40 N95 masks can be disinfected in one go using the microwave technology within 10 min. A PPE kit and an N95 mask can be recycled and reused 20 times using the 'Optimiser' machine. Over 2,000 PPE kits can be disinfected in a day which will save the cost of the new safety gears. 

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jodhpur and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) in Lucknow have validated the technology.


Sensor-based Touch-Free Hand Sanitizer Dispenser

CSIR-National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science & Technology (CSIR-NIIST), Trivandrum, has developed a sensor-based touch-free hand sanitizer dispenser which sprays on to the detected surface. This technology has been transferred to Cabeio Technologies, an MSME start-up situated at Thiruvananthapuram. This can have wide applications in buildings, offices. and other public gathering locations.


Atmospheric Water Generator Technology (AWG)

CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad, has implemented its Atmospheric Water Generator Technology (AWG) to provide relief to the common man in Hyderabad city through safe remineralized drinking water during the Covid-19 pandemic. The mobile AWG can provide 500 l/day of safe remineralized water.

Published in August 2020