'AutoVacc': Thai experts develop robotic arm to save every drop of Covid vaccine

WION Web Team
Bangkok, Thailand Published: Aug 25, 2021, 04:26 PM(IST)

AutoVacc Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

A robotic arm, termed as "AutoVacc", can draw nearly 12 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in just four minutes from a single vial

As the third world nations struggle to get enough doses to fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Thailand has come up with an idea of utilising these doses more efficiently.

There have been some reports from all over the world where medical professionals have been punished for wasting the useable vials. However, a group of researchers in Thailand have found a way to help those third-world nations and make sure no extra drop of any vial is wasted.

Also read | Study finds that Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines only 66% effective against Delta variant

A robotic arm, termed as "AutoVacc", can draw nearly 12 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in just four minutes from a single vial. This machine has been developed by a group of researchers at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

Usually, a medical professional can draw upto 10 doses from a single vial, manually. This robotic arm can bring nearly 20 per cent more productivity from the standard procedure.

"The machine guarantees with accuracy that we can gain an extra 20% from each vaccine vial — from 10 to 12 doses," said Juthamas Ratanavaraporn, the lead researcher of the team at the university’s Biomedical Engineering Research Center. "The extra 20% that we get means that if we have AstraZeneca for 1 million people, this machine can increase the number of doses to 1.2 million people."

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This process requires high level of skill to make sure there is no wastage and leads to more efficiency. "This could drain a lot of the health workers' energy. They would have to do this every day for many months," Ratanavaraporn said.

The robotic arm will also help the medical professionals save manual labour and steer clear of human error when they are tired. "When the health workers are too tired, there are also chances of human error, so we should let the machines work on this," Ratanavaraporn explained.

Researchers have launched this robotic arm at a time when Thailand is observing an increase in Covid-related cases due to the Delta variant.

Thailand was earlier hailed for keeping Covid cases under control, but the vaccination rate has slowed down a tad which has been blamed on slow vaccine supplies.

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