The Indian Air Force has designed, developed and inducted an Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT). This pod will be utilised for evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases including COVID-19 from high altitude area, isolated and remote places.
Requirement of an air evacuation system with facility to prevent spread of infectious aerosol from a COVID-19 patient during air travel was felt by IAF when COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic. The first prototype was developed at 3 BRD AF and has undergone various modifications. Supporting the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” call by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, only indigenous materials have been used to fabricate this pod. This indigenously designed system has been developed at a cost of Rs 60,000, which is very less as compared to the imported systems costing up to Rs 60 Lakh.
The system has been developed as a lightweight isolation system made from aviation certified material. It has a transparent and durable cast Perspex for enhanced patient visibility which is larger, higher and wider than the existing models. The isolation system caters for suitable number of air exchanges, integration of medical monitoring instruments, and ventilation to an intubated patient. In addition, it generates high constant negative pressure in the isolation chamber for prevention of infection risk to aircrew, ground crew and health care workers involved in air transportation.
The ARPIT utilises High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) H-13 class filters and supports invasive ventilation using Transport Ventilator. The design integrates life support and monitoring instruments (defibrillator with multipara monitor, pulse oximeter, Infusion pumps etc), long arm gloves for use by health care professionals and power pack with high endurance. Design requirements have been evolved and are based on the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC), USA. The IAF is inducting a total of 7 ARPITS as of now.