Category — Biotechnology

MIT Grads Provide Biodegradable Sanitary Pads to Rural India

A startup, Saathi (meaning ‘companion’ in Hindi), founded by three graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a graduate from Nirma University in India, is hoping to improve access and waste disposal of sanitary pads for women in rural India.

275,000,000 women in India cannot access pads because they are too expensive (also scarcely available, and difficult to discard). “Only 16 percent of women have access to sanitary pads in India,” Kristin Kagetsu, co-founder and CEO of the company told NBC News during an interview at the company’s production facility, located outside Ahmedabad, in India’s western state of Gujarat.

The sanitary napkins are eco-friendly: they are made from locally-sourced banana fiber, which is highly absorbent and biodegradable; it doesn’t have to be burned when disposed, thus helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Banana Fibers

Fibers from the banana tree

Saathi is one of the finalists in the Health and Wearable Technologies category at SXSW, Austin, Texas. It is looking  funding this project, and according to its website, $12,737 have been raised toward a target of $20,000.

April 19, 2017   No Comments

India Caps Prices on Coronary Stents Triggering Debates

After including drug eluting stents and bare metal stents in the National List of Essential Medicines in July last year, the government of India added them to the Schedule I of the Drug Prices Control Order, 2013, last December, and brought the devices under price control.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has capped a drug eluting stent at $458 and a bare metal stent at $112.  All stent manufacturers as well as importers will now have to price their products below the notified ceiling price.

Since hospitals also function as retailers of stents they will also be required to display the prices prominently in the hospital premises, per the Drug Price Control Order 2013, reports BusinessLine.

Sahajanand Medical Technologies Stent

Sahajanand Medical Technologies Stent

Health groups, such as the Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare, expressed satisfaction with the decision. “After months of consultations, we welcome the strong and determined action of the government, particularly in the face of a concerted campaign by industry and profit-oriented hospitals to prevent any form of effective price control,” said Malini Aisola of the All India Drug Action Network.

The Medical Technology Association of India expressed disappointment with the decision saying the “move will reduce the options available for the Indian patient for their specific medical condition or deprive them the satisfaction of choosing from the most advanced and cutting edge technologies.” The Association asked for a 45-day transition time for implementing the price change.

 

April 11, 2017   No Comments

India’s Companies Focus on Developing Technology Devices

Harvard University and India’s Mumbai-based Tata Group are collaborating on a wearable device powered by soft robotics. The device will be akin to a suit or exoskeleton adding more strength to elbow joints and allowing a worker to lift something instead of using a machine for the purpose.

The Group’s CTO Dr. Gopichand Katragadda, said, “The wearable device fits in with our overall concept of the connected worker. We are using sensor technology for safety and other aspects of the job he is performing and hope to be leaders in this space.” The device would alert the wearer if the carbon dioxide or monoxide levels in the room reached a level unsafe for humans.

Pune-based KPIT Technologies has introduced an augmented reality-based glass that can help trainees learn the nuances of certain processes needing specific hand gestures like molding.
Augmented Reality
India’s IT companies creating applications for emerging technology such as drones, augmented and virtual reality and sensor tracking which are used by both the manufacturing and industrial sectors. At certain industrial ports and factories, drones and chip-based IDs are already being used to ensure that no person is accidentally left behind, reports the Economic Times.
L&T Infotech has an AR glass solution that allows field engineers to inspect and identify areas safe for construction. Since this happens in real-time and allows for quick decision-making, it has led to an increase in operational efficiency and worker productivity, said the company.

March 30, 2017   No Comments

Scientists in India Develop Credit Card-Sized ECG Device

Scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center have developed a credit card-sized Tele-ECG machine that can transmit an ECG over any smartphone to any part of the world. This 12-channel ECG machine works on an Android-platform, can be recharged via a mobile charger, and is priced at $61. It is likely the smallest of its kind.

“The quality of the ECG is excellent and it has come to me in two to three different formats for me to view,” Dr. Hemant Haldavnekar, a consulting physician, said.

 Hand-held ECG Device

“This is a small low-cost ECG machine that on a single charge can record 300 ECGs. It is rightly suited for rural areas,” the developer of the tele-ECG machine, Vineet Sinha, scientist, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai, said reports NDTV.

March 21, 2017   No Comments

India’s Institute of Technology Develops Cardio Implant

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras located in Chennai, India has developed Asia’s first ‘life-saving’ implant called SynkroScaff — A tissue engineered bovine pericardial patch — for critical cardiovascular patients. A Chennai-based firm, SynkroMax Biotech, has been appointed as the commercial partner. C.V. Seshadri, managing director of Synkromax Biotech said, “This sack is harvested and processed with biomaterial for ten days followed by quality control parameters to ensure it is microbial free.”

Tissue Engineering

The  pericardial patch (sack of buffalo’s heart) has inherent properties of regeneration and integration in the body, and its medical application is based on innovator Guhathakurta’s doctoral research in the institute in 2004, under the guidance of Venkatesh Balasubramanian, professor, Department of Engineering Design. Guhathakurta says, “Its applications are immense in cardiovascular and other surgical practices.  So far, 800 patches have been manufactured and over 12 surgeons are using them across India.  The feedback from doctors and patients has been encouraging, with a 100 percent success rate,” she said, adding that the product is manufactured in a facility complying with drug applications and current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) guidelines, reports the New Indian Express.

 

December 29, 2016   No Comments