India's Battle for Oxygen Supply (E)

"In this episode of Science for a Self-Reliant India, in the backdrop of the 2nd COVID wave to hit India, we focus on the critical role of Oxygen in sustaining human life; after all, it is the building block of life on earth. We look at why our respiratory system requires more oxygen when afflicted by the deadly COVID and how in critical cases oxygen supply can give doctors the time to treat patients, how using gadgets we are able to monitor our bodies oxygen levels, and how the government of India has given DRDO the mission to rapidly install 500 oxygen generating plants in hospitals across the country leveraging technology from the indigenous LCA aircraft Tejas. Before the COVID pandemic struck in 2020, India’s daily demand for liquid medical oxygen was about 1000 tons per day. During the first COVID wave, the demand for oxygen increased over three times to 3000 metric tons. We ramped up production and were able to meet this increase without any problem. But then the 2nd COVID wave struck the country in April 2021. Within days the demand for oxygen increased by 9 times to 9200 tonnes per day from pre-COVID days. We have as a country been able to meet even this impossible demand by converting high purity industrial oxygen within a month by overcoming huge logistical challenges. These initiatives are part of many steps taken by the Government of India in the last few weeks to ensure that the health care system is upgraded by leveraging science and technology. It is also a strong indicator that in the next few months science and technology will play an even more important role in helping defeat the COVID virus – be it medicines, better treatment protocols and importantly the ramping up the rollout of COVID vaccines to levels that the world has never seen before - all for an Atmannirbhar Bharat."

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