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Ahmedabad firm devises kit for nuclear, bio attack Wednesday, October 31, 2001
NEWS SOURCE : TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat seems to be leading the way as far as preparedness to combat any biological or chemical attack is concerned. Not only is it the first Indian state to have readied an action plan to counter anthrax, but the first-ever emergency first-aid kit to counter any kind of nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) warfare has also been developed by an Ahmedabad-based company.
Troikaa Pharmaceuticals Limited has readied and supplied 10 such kits to Gwalior-based Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), one of the three organisations recognised in the world for NBC warfare, and the brain behind the development of this indigenous first-aid tool against dreaded bio-chemical weapons.
"The kit is the brainchild of DRDE which they asked us to develop three years back in the interest of national security. Initially we were reluctant to divert our resources but finally gave in as a service to the country, because DRDE insisted that though there are quotations from foreign manufacturers it wanted the same to be developed indigenously," said Ketan Patel, managing director of Troikaa. He admitted that he had never foreseen the product could come in so handy to deal with the current bio-warfare threat.
So what exactly is the kit all about? Packed in a 70x55x50 cm water-resistant box, the kit is armed with 42 components including all the advanced essential medications like antidotes and antibiotics for the most dreaded germs and chemicals that threaten mankind, special NBC pads for protection against nuclear radiation, water poison detection kit to the most basic things like surgicals, syringes and even sterilised water. An instruction manual in the kit make access to drugs easier in case of an emergency.
"The high point of the kit is the single source availability of antidotes for cyanide, mercury, nitrogen-mustard and related poisoning and antibiotics for almost all the dreaded bioterrors including anthrax, plague, brucellosis etc., plus all the added medical tools that a medico would need to tackle any surprise attack," said Patel.
It needs mention here that the kit is not equipped to handle botulism and small-pox attack. "This is primarily because there is no ready vaccine available for these two deadly diseases," he said.
Except for these disadvantages, experts insist the kit is user-friendly especially in emergency situations likely to be posed by the current biochemical war threat, given the fact that it is water and vibration resistant, has a shelf life of two years and can come in handy to treat as many as 30 patients in one stroke.
"The kit looks promising. We have asked for details about the kit from the company and are in the process of making suitable additions and subtractions to enhance its user-friendliness. If the situation demands, we will acquire the same to remain better prepared," said a member of the core team of the state health department at the Civil Hospital which is actively pursuing the present contents of the kit and ways to better the same.
Troikaa too is aware of the sudden increase in the market-value of its product and concedes that it will be making efforts to explore possibilities of marketing it to friendly countries. "We have signed a MoU with the DRDE to sell this kit and in case the biochemical war threat persists, we will definitely explore the possibility to offer this product to friendly countries. Most countries are going to need such a product and we have an advantage of providing it at 1/20th of the price charged at international level," said Patel. The kit is still priced at Rs 2 lakh per kit, obviously too expensive for Indian standards.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]