Announcing Manipal Covid Challenge, an opportunity for all creative minds to get off TikTok, or whatever else you are doing during this Lockdown, and contribute to solving important problems in our society.
Phase 1, Ideation, May 18, 2020
Phase 2, Advanced Prototype, June 2020 (Date to be determined based on MAHE Student schedules)
Create Something Useful
Problem Statements identified for the Manipal Covid Challenge:
Problems Statements were developed in collaboration with KMC, Manipal
- Washable cloth masks for the general population
To identify an effective 3-ply mask design, develop templates, identify sources for wholesale materials, train local tailors (may be skilled home-makers with sewing machines) to prepare a large number of masks. Note, these are not the N-95 equivalent masks for health care use. Participants can opt for a direct sales model where they take responsibility for the entire operation. Alternately, teams could develop and provide templates and list of local wholesale dealers to the sewing community, so individual sewing teams can prepare and sell as per their preference.
- Shortage of N95 masks and Reusable PPEs
- Sterilizing used N-95 masks for reuse:
Hydrogen peroxide vapor and ETO gas sterilization are currently approved technologies to decontaminate used N-95 masks. Can similar, approvable technologies be developed locally to decontaminate N-95 masks? The challenge is to ideate, but also develop the local industry connect to demo the technology, get Central government approval and deploy it locally.
- Development of Biodegradable patient gowns and PPEs:
Considering the large number of single-use personal protective equipment (PPEs) used, can we develop reusable/biodegradable PPEs and patient gowns? Reusable can be cloth-like washable gowns. Biodegradable can be single-use, made from plant-based polymers. All gowns must provide efficient barrier to infection transmission. Successful entries will need to identify local industry partners and prototypes which can be scaled up very quickly.
- Protecting Healthcare Workers in a Hospital
- Educational Programs for Healthcare Workers:
We need protocols for training and equipping health care workers with the knowledge and skills of personal protection hygiene and self-care/monitoring, strict compliance and safe disposal of PPEs.
- Streamline patient flow in a hospital setting to prevent droplet spread:
Develop workflow or patient flow methodologies that can be used to minimize viral transmission to healthcare workers and other patients.
- Encouraging social distancing in common spaces:
Several low and high-technologies can be considered.
- Low tech solutions
can be simple flyers and local education materials to stress importance of social distancing and how to maintain social distances where people may be gathering – to purchase groceries, medicine and social interactions. Templates can be prepared and distributed so people can draw circles (or any other shapes) on roads and grounds where social distancing is required.
- High-tech solutions
can include wearable proximity sensors, or as part of mobile phones that detect and alert encroachment within safe space.
- Tracking Quarantine Patients:
Develop technologies that help the local community (building/society group or neighbors) track quarantined people. Consider that people in quarantine may rebel against intrusive technologies. How do we educate people about the importance of quarantine for social welfare and break social taboos of people in quarantine? How do we balance individual privacy, basic rights and community rights? People in quarantine will also need to be provided essentials like foods, groceries, masks and medicines. Can we develop digital or community-based technologies to track and make quarantine effective?
- Contact Tracing:
Effective contact tracing is an essential public health intervention to control highly contagious communicable diseases. However, in a country like India where population density is high and population compliance is low, it becomes a very challenging task. There is therefore a need for low cost, user friendly, technology intervention to tackle this. The intervention we are looking for cannot be draconian, but must bring people together, earn their trust and make each person a key stakeholder in the welfare of the community.
- Protecting the Elderly:
The elderly population (>75 years; 65-75 years) are at the highest risk for Covid-19, and also the most unable to fend for themselves. The challenge is how to develop societal or community-based solutions that can keep the elderly safe. Their unique requirements include providing for their daily needs during a lockdown, providing basic primary medical treatment so they do not advance to critical stages and also provide regular monitoring and transport to hospitals if needed.
- Remote monitoring of COVID patients
- Remote monitoring of Inpatients:
How do we monitor inpatients, real time (or at least multiple times a day) in a hospital facility without putting healthcare providers at risk.
- Remote monitoring in Home-setting:
Patients with mild symptoms may be asked to take care of themselves at home. In this scenario, how do we monitor their vital health data and progression of symptoms remotely. This population may also have quarantine requirements and associated needs.
- Detecting asymptomatic populations in the community:
Asymptomatic patients are effective carriers and transmit Covid-19. Is it possible to test, track and identify such non-symptomatic, Covid-19 patients in the general population? Considering the Covid-19 test costs a minimum of Rs 4,500, are there inexpensive surrogates that may be amenable for large scale population testing?
- Identifying Clusters and Hot Spots in a community:
To prevent community spread of the infection it is crucial to identify clusters and segregate the members from engaging with the community. Identification can be used to target testing and placing all cluster contacts in quarantine. Can we develop digital technologies to identify, target and monitor clusters? Scare resources can be channelized to these clusters in a targeted manner. Additionally, we can study the natural course of the disease and dynamics of disease transmission.
System/software for remote consultation (doctor with patient) and connecting patient with patient relatives. Do we require telemedicine including training on observation and follow up? Do we have any better way?