A government hospital here is putting a robot through its paces to see if it can help in the fight against coronavirus, delivering food and medicines to patients admitted there. If the trial works out, the humanoid robot could make its way to assigned patients with a tray carrying food or medicines.
Potentially, this would reduce the chances of the hospital staff contracting the infection.
Nurses now need to approach such patients wearing protective gear like masks and gloves.
SMS Hospital superintendent Dr D S Meena said a private firm had approached them, offering a robot which could carry food and medicines to patients, a job normally done by the nursing staff.
“We are conducting a trial and a committee has been formed to see its efficiency,” he said. The committee will submit a report.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Robot made by the company, Club First, have also been tried out at restaurants, the firm said.
The robot at SMS Hospital uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to do its job. It doesn't need to follow lines on the floor and can navigate its own way, according to developer Bhuvnesh Mishra.
It can supposedly use the lift and reach a particular bed in a specific ward. When it starts running out of power, it heads towards the charging point, the manufacturers claim.
Dr Meena called it a good step. Doctors and the nurses have higher chances of getting infected with the virus, he reminded. According to him, the nursing staff likes the idea.
Mishra said that the company provided the robot under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, and can supply more of them.“We have manufactured the robot under the Make in India initiative in Jaipur,” he said.