The Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad has added another product to the portfolio of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to combat the coronavirus by developing the ‘COVID-19 Sample Collection Kiosk’ (COVSACK).

The unit has been developed by the DRDL in consultation with the doctors of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, Hyderabad.

The COVSACK is a kiosk through which healthcare workers can take coronavirus samples from suspected infected patients. The patient walks into the kiosk and a nasal/oral swab is taken by healthcare professional from outside through the built-in gloves, according to a statement.

The kiosk is automatically disinfected without the need for human involvement, making the process free of infection spread. The shielding screen of the kiosk cabin protects the healthcare worker from the aerosols/droplet transmission while taking the sample. This reduces the need of frequent PPE change by healthcare workers.

Quick disinfection

After the patient leaves the kiosk, four nozzle sprayers mounted in the cabin disinfect the empty chamber by spraying disinfectant mist for a period of 70 seconds. It is further flushed with water and UV light disinfection.

The system is ready for next use in less than two minutes. Voice commands can be given via a two-way communication system integrated with the kiosk. It is possible to configure the COVSACK to be used either from inside or outside, as required by the medical professionals.

The COVSACK costs nearly ₹1 lakh, and the identified industry based at Belgaum, Karnataka can support 10 units per day. The DRDO has designed and developed two units and handed over these to ESIC Hospital, Hyderabad after successful testing.