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In pandemic, using drones to drop medical supplies from sky (AP News)

May 27, 2020

Prashant Yadav speaks to AP News about PPE distribution during COVID-19. From the article:

With a loud whir and a whoosh, a fixed-wing drone slingshots out of a medical warehouse, zips through hazy skies at 80 mph, pops open a belly hatch and drops a box of medical supplies. Slowed by a little parachute, the box drifts downward and lands with a plop, less than 8 minutes after launch.

For North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Basil Yap, it is a eureka moment.The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deadly consequences of fractured medical supply chains. Drones, said Yap, may be part of the solution. Proponents say they eliminate the need for delivery trucks and avoid human contact....

Prashant Yadav, a senior fellow at the D.C.-based Center for Global Development who focuses on global health supply chains and forecasting, said today’s efforts will be useful in preparation for future disasters.

“Even if today we can send personal protective equipment via trucks, there may be other threats or a future pandemic which could cause other disruptions, so it’s good to be prepared for this,” he said.

“Will this become the widespread way of PPE distribution to hospitals? Probably not anytime in the near future, but it could become useful for lab test delivery in many different ways, specifically the turnaround time for lab tests.”

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