Wed, Apr 24, 2019 - Page 2 News List

CDC successfully tests aerial delivery of antivenom

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Snake antivenom was on Friday last week successfully delivered to a remote mountainous area of Chiayi County, in a stable condition, by aerial drone, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

The agency said that it has been working with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on a program to test using uncrewed aerial vehicles to provide logistics services in the county’s remote regions.

There are nine health rooms affiliated with Alishan Township’s (阿里山) Public Health Center, but only six are stocked with snake antivenom, as it is costly to produce and store, CDC physician Liu Yu-lun (劉宇倫) said.

It is only 7km between the Lichia (里佳) health room, where no antivenom is stored, and the center, but it takes about an hour to drive a rough and winding road to transport medical items to Lichia, he said.

The agency assisted the ministry in designing a temperature-controlled box for the drone to transport antivenom at a stable temperature of between 2°C and 8°C, with the flight from the center to Lichia taking only about 10 minutes, he added.

The successful test was the first step in proving the usefulness of aerial drones to meet emergency healthcare needs, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said, adding that if operations can be maintained steadily, people bitten by venomous snakes in mountainous areas could receive antivenom much faster than before.

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