Amidst growing concerns and raising alarms by the Indian Medical Association over imminent and inevitable 3rd wave of COVID, India’s leading emerging tech prototyping agency Advance Services for Social and Administrative Reforms (ASSAR) opens applications for global technology and healthcare companies to provide Technology, Products & Services (TPS) for instant COVID19 testing that will give reliable results within 60 seconds.
Announcing to conduct this testing tech as a commercial pilot starting with critically high-value international airports of the country - Delhi, and Mumbai; the pilot aims to target the two international disembarkations that have the highest risk of importing mutated variants of the COVID virus in India. The prototype pilot will then extend to 12 other test venues in coordination with the state governments in the same phase of the pilot to make domestic & inland air travel safe passage for transportation ahead of the predicted wave and the possibility of further lockdowns.
ASSAR under its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ program opened the applications for this pilot on July 10th and is currently in the process of the corroborating screening process with competent bodies until July 25th. Thereafter, the shortlisted companies shall undergo logistical and financial planning for execution in August 2021, by the agency.
Talking about the immediacy & necessity of the project, the lead technocrat Mr. Abhijeet Sinha, National Program Director, Ease of Doing Business division at ASSAR expresses “Much has been already lost beyond measure in last 16 months. The second wave of COVID has hit us hard and at no cost is the country ready to bear another socio-economic brunt. With these testing technologies our effort is to take pre-emptive steps, so the nation doesn’t have to face another lockdown with the anticipated wave. Also, indispensable public and private sector operations that have already suffered huge losses, with this pilot, will be able to provide affordable instant tests for such necessities.”
“Not all sectors or nature of jobs or businesses can be effectively done from home, especially the ones concerning national security, research, manufacturing, developmental sectors, etc. Our effort with these pilots is to put the country’s socio-economic recovery back on track,” he continues.
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With the announced COVID tech pilot, many stakeholders from across agencies and bodies will come together. The key aspects of the project in its initial qualification criteria that is, only the technologies whose results will be available instantly within 60 seconds and those that have the capability to detect emerging mutations and variants of the COVID19 virus can participate in the application process.
Since it is a commercial pilot, not medical prototyping; only a technology medically pre-approved by ICMR / US-FDA / CE-IVD will be considered to showcase its portability, simplicity, cost-efficiency, scalability, prevention of data falsification & optimization with internet connectivity, high – throughput for testing at international disembarkation as well as last-mile testing in the rural outbreak.
It’s no longer the time, that the country can sit on for years of research to come up with vaccines or technology. Unlike the POLIO vaccine that took years to reach India and then decades to reach its remote demography. Both the COVID19 vaccine and testing technology have to grow and be accessible in real-time, the technology and information transfer have to happen literally in nanoseconds at a global level, for us to be able to tide over this global crisis.