Successful Trial Run of Blood Bag Delivery by Drones under iDrone Initiative of ICMR
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has conducted a successful trial run of blood bag delivery by drones under its iDrone initiative. The inaugural flight carried ten units of whole blood samples from GIMS and LHMC, making it the first time in India that this has been done. The trial run is part of a path-breaking validation study that has been undertaken by the collaborative efforts of ICMR, LHMC, GIMS, and JIIT.
Potential Impact of Drone-Based Delivery of Blood Samples in India
The iDrone initiative is part of the national mission to expand the drone ecosystem in India and is in line with the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to use innovative technologies in various sectors such as agriculture, defense, disaster relief, and healthcare. The inclusion of novel technologies like drones in these sectors has been eased for researchers and drone operators with the relaxations in the Drone Rules 2022.
ICMR has been a pioneer in using drones for healthcare purposes and has successfully delivered medical supplies, vaccines, and medicines to remote areas of Manipur and Nagaland. The drone-based delivery of blood will reduce the time for last-mile deliveries within the country.
ICMR Director General: Boost of Technology is Accelerating India’s Development Vision
Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Director General, ICMR, highlighted the significance of the event and stated that “the boost of technology is an accelerator that is gradually pushing India towards achieving the status of being a developed nation as envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.”
The trial run has identified the challenges in timely delivery of blood and blood products, especially in remote areas and congested metropolitan cities of India. The scientists have assessed the quality and integrity of fragile bodily fluids such as blood due to the impact of drone movement. The investigators from LHMC, GIMS, and JIIT will further conduct drone flights for validating the quality of packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, and platelets in this study.
ICMR’s Drone-Based Delivery of Blood Samples to Pave the Way for Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in India
The findings of this study will provide scientific evidence from India for examining the impact of drone transportation on blood products. This study will lead to the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for wider applicability and use of drones for delivery of blood bags and components. It will also provide answers to whether drones shall be used as a method of transportation for temperature-sensitive blood products in remote locations of the country.
The successful trial run of blood bag delivery by drones under the iDrone initiative is a significant milestone in the use of innovative technologies for healthcare purposes in India. This development will pave the way for faster and more efficient delivery of blood products, which will ultimately save lives.