SIIC team launches challenge to develop indigenous solutions to tackle oxygen crisis

The Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC) at IIT Kanpur aims to build an efficient mechanism to support brilliant, innovative minds of India to set up more than 20,000 oxygen generation units in the next 6-8 weeks.

A team at the Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC) at IIT Kanpur has launched ''Mission Bharat O2'' challenge to bring forward indigenous solutions for solving India's oxygen crisis amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team aims to build an efficient mechanism to support brilliant, innovative minds of India to set up more than 20,000 oxygen generation units in the next six to eight weeks, a statement said.

SIIC aims to work with a set of manufacturers in different regions of India with a target production capacity of 100 units per day with the possibility of scaling up, it added.

Last year, SIIC had supported its incubated companies to develop indigenous products, including the Swasa N-95 mask and the Noccarc V310 ventilator.

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"When the first wave of COVID-19 hit India, SIIC-incubated companies stepped up to deliver world-class healthcare products. The products, developed locally, are a testament of India''s capability to innovate at par with global standards," Professor Abhay Karandikar, Director at IIT Kanpur, said.

As India reels under the impact of the second wave, IIT Kanpur and SIIC have decided to support more indigenous innovators, this time to address the oxygen crisis in the country, he added.

The massive rise in infections in the second wave of the pandemic has led to hospitals in several states reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. Social media timelines are filled with SOS calls from people looking for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, plasma donors, and ventilators.

Organisations across the spectrum have come forward to source and donate oxygenators, breathing machines, and ventilators.

Ecom Express, a tech-enabled end-to-end logistics solutions provider, said it is setting up COVID vaccination camps for employees across multiple locations in India. These camps will include contractual workforce covering more than 45,000 people.

The company has set up an internal emergency response team to provide information on doctors, ambulance services, lab tests, medical insurance, and oxygen supplies.

It has also procured oxygen concentrators for staff to avail in case of medical exigencies. The pool of concentrators will be kept at the company''s facilities for distribution to employees and for their families.

A helping hand

Harman International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, said it is contributing Rs 10 crore to PM-CARES fund.

It has also partnered with Apollo Hospitals and secured a few hotel beds in Bengaluru, Pune and Gurugram for staff that may need to manage a quarantine period in isolation.

The company is also marking all Fridays as ''free of internal calls'' starting May 7, 2021, for a period of four months. This, it said, will give employees time to spend with their family and invest in their own health and welfare.

Fintech firm Cred said more than 7.5 lakh Cred members have pledged their CRED coins over the last week that has helped deploy funds of Rs 10 crore to partners at Milaap, Hemkunt Foundation, and Give India.

These organisations are placing orders for necessary equipment for hospitals and healthcare organisations, and having them shipped this week, it added.

Short-video platform Mitron TV has launched a new campaign ''#VirusToVaccine'' in a bid to dispel existing myths about the vaccine.

The campaign will be part of Mitron's newly launched live streaming feature Live Samvaad and will have a panel of doctors addressing queries and increasing awareness about vaccination.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai