Hyderabad: Various DRDO labs have applied their technical knowledge and expertise in textile, coating technology, and nanotechnology to make a bio-suit that can be used by doctors and medical professionals who are in the frontlines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a number of products and technologies to defend against CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) agents. As part of this effort, DRDE, Gwalior, has developed CBRN permeable suit and 53,000 such suits have been supplied to the Army and NDRF.

For first responders attending to radiological emergencies, a reusable suit has been developed by INMAS, Delhi. Meanwhile, ADRDE, Agra, has developed various types of parachutes that use fabrics similar to protective technical textiles.

This has resulted in finding a specific type of fabric with a specific type of coating to make a bio-suit that can keep medical, paramedical, and other personnel safe from COVID-19. The suit has been subjected to rigorous testing for textile parameters as well as protection against synthetic blood, which exceeds the criteria defined for body suits by the ministry of health and family welfare.

Kusumgarh industries is producing the raw material, coating material, and the complete suit is being manufactured with the help of another firm. Around 7,000 suits will be manufactured per day. Another firm, which has experience in garment technology, is also being brought in and efforts are on to ramp up the capacity to 15,000 suits per day.

Non-availability of seam sealing tapes, however, has hampered the production of the suits. To overcome this shortage, the DRDO has prepared a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape. At present, bio suits prepared using this special sealant has cleared tests at SITRA, Coimbatore. This can be a game-changer for the textile industry.

DRDO is making all efforts to see that these suits are produced in large numbers and serve as a robust line of defense for our medics, paramedics, and other personnel in the frontline combating COVID-19.

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