The Asia-Oceania Outstanding Achievement Award

Dr.Vinayan K.P., Professor and Head of the Department of Paediatric Neurology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, received the Asia-Oceania Outstanding Achievement Award from the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) for his contributions to the epilepsy care in children.

This is the highest recognition of the organization in the Asia-Oceania region, awarded to eminent persons who have provided significant contributions to healthcare and research in the field of epileptology. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the award was presented in a virtual ceremony during the Asia-Oceania Epilepsy Congress.

Dr. Vinayan has developed a state of the art services for children with epilepsy and related neurological disorders at Amrita. As the secretary of the Indian Epilepsy Association, Kochi, he was instrumental in the implementation of 'Helping Hands' programme, a financial support scheme for flood-affected persons with epilepsy in 2018 and also developing a helpline for epilepsy patients during the current COVID restrictions.

Amrita, Only Indian University to Figure in World’s Top 100 Universities in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has emerged in the Top 100 universities in the world in the just-released Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. Holding 81st rank, Amrita is the only university from India to appear in the prestigious top 100 list.

THE’s Impact Rankings rate universities against the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are global goals adopted by all UN member nations to improve life for all people in the world and protect the planet. They attempt to document evidence of the impact that universities have upon the society, in addition to their research and teaching performance.

Notably, Amrita has been ranked No. 5 in the world for furthering SDG4 (Quality Education) and No. 8 for SDG5 (Gender Equality). The varsity was also ranked 37th for SDG3 (Good Health & Well-Being); 52nd for SD6 (Clean Water & Sanitation); and between 101-200 for SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure) as well as SDG17 (Partnership for The Goals).

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Amrita Professors Publishes a Scientific Study in 'The Lancet' Journal on COVID 19 Causing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children

The case of a newborn affected by the mother's COVID infection: Amrita School of Medicine Professors publish a finding on COVID-19 causing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, in The Lancet - a top medical journal.

Connecting what happened to a baby born from a mother who had COVID, Amrita School of Medicine Professors recently published a scientific study on a life-threatening condition involving a newborn as a consequence of its mother's COVID infection. This unique case report was recently published in the leading medical journal, The Lancet, and has attracted attention from medical experts across the world.

A 24-days old baby was presented to the Pediatric Cardiology unit at Amrita Hospital, Kochi, during the last week of December 2020. The baby girl was intensely sick, and the heart was hardly contracting- at barely 10% pumping efficiency. She had been referred with a suspicion of a severe birth defect of the heart. But, when doctors at Amrita did the Echocardiogram, they found that the heart did not have any structural birth defects, yet the heart was functioning very poorly. The baby was soon put on the ventilator and was shifted into the Pediatric Cardiac ICU. When the blood reports came in the next couple of hours, they showed that not just the heart, but the liver and kidneys were badly affected too. The doctors were puzzled since they could not identify the reason as to why the baby was so ill. Most of the common causes of such illness were being ruled out, one-by-one.

Professor of Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Mahesh Kappanayil, took the lead in evaluating and managing the patient along with the team of pediatric cardiac intensive care specialists. It was then that the doctors discovered that the baby’s mother had COVID when she was about 31 weeks pregnant. This made the doctors assess a possible connection between the mother’s past COVID infection and the baby’s current illness. ‘Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children ‘or MIS-C is a new disease that has been discovered and described in the past few months where children develop complications after few weeks of being exposed to COVID-19, but this had never been described to occur in newborn babies.

Amrita School of Medicine Professor, Dr. Suma Balan, Pediatric Rheumatologist, then brought her considerable expertise in solving this difficult medical puzzle. Even as the child’s condition was deteriorating, the next set of test results seemed to confirm that the baby had a severe inflammatory condition, possibly related to exposure to COVID-19 during the pregnancy. The baby was immediately started on specific medicines that were effective. The prompt diagnosis and initiation of precise treatment resulted in stabilisation of the baby’s condition, and the beginning of steady improvement. The heart, liver and kidney functions began to improve and the baby could be taken off the #ventilator after about 10 days. The baby’s life could be saved, and she was finally discharged from the hospital after nearly one month of hospitalisation.

Managing such a difficult case required ingenuity, quick thinking and the combined efforts of a number of specialists from different disciplines - Pediatric Cardiology, Rheumatology, Intensive Care, Dermatology, Microbiology and many others, in addition to the meticulous care provided by nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff. The authors acknowledged that the hospital administration provided all necessary support as well. Dr. Atul Gupta, a renowned authority on Pediatric Respiratory Medicine at King’s College, London, who published the first case of a newborn infected with COVID-19 after birth, provided valuable inputs to the Amrita team.

This case highlights the need to raise awareness about protecting pregnant women and children from COVID-19. Safety studies for COVID vaccines in pregnancy are currently underway.


Amrita Hospital joins hands with the Kerala Government to begin COVID-19 vaccinations

With its launch, India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is the largest of its kind in the world. The District of Ernakulam, Kerala, and Amrita Hospital have formed a unique Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to vaccinate health care workers there.

The Kadavanthara Urban Public Health Center will be managed by Amrita Hospital and set up in a way that other health centers can easily emulate. It is equipped with medical teams, an ambulance, necessary physical facilities, and awareness posters.

Medical Director of Amrita Hospital Kochi, Dr Prem Nair, said that Amrita Hospital will provide all the means for the vaccination of health workers as per the instructions of the government. Dr M. G. Sivadasan, who is leading the vaccination drive for the Ernakulam administration, said that this PPP initiative is a model that other districts can replicate.

Expressing their gratitude, hospital officials said that the collaboration was part of a community commitment and that they were proud to be able to participate in the government’s vaccination drive. In addition, Amrita Hospital is operating as a separate vaccination center.

Dr Vivek Kumar R., District Medical Chief, and Matthew Numpelil, District Program Manager, appreciated Amrita Hospital for their commitment. The district chiefs thanked the hospital authorities for their immense support and involvement with the government to control the pandemic in the country since its inception.

Amrita Hospital has also been one of the hospitals conducting the trial run of the COVID-19 vaccination. The Ernakulam district administration said in the context of both initiatives, Amrita has embarked on a venture which brings the enhanced efficiency of the private sector together with the service capabilities of the government.

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Amrita Launches a Desi Low Cost PAPR Kits for Healthcare Workers

Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) is a protection equipment technology used to supply purified air to medical professionals working in infection-prone areas such as COVID wards, to prevent infection and disease from the aerosolized virus particles. Till very recently, all the PAPRs in the country were imported and they cost more than one lakh rupees. The problem was acute during the pandemic when the availability of protection equipment became scarce. It was at this time that AMMACHI Labs and the doctors at Amrita hospital decided to work on designing and developing a complete PAPR kit from scratch – a small but sure step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat for its healthcare needs.

PAPRs are generally safer, more comfortable to use, and reusable as compared to normal PPEs with N95 masks. But because of their exorbitant cost, they haven’t been widely used in developing countries like India. The goal of the project was to develop a low-cost solution that meets all the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standards.

On January 13, 2021, AMMACHI Labs at Amrita University and Amrita Hospitals launched the product jointly. 20 kits of this product will be tested by medical professionals at AIMS. Once all the feedback and design improvements have been incorporated, the PAPR will be productized by Omnex Inc. Unlike commercial PAPRs costing anywhere between Rs. 70,000 – Rs. 1,50,000, Amrita PAPR costs less than Rs. 30,000 per kit.

The Amrita PAPR for medical professionals uses an H14 grade HEPA filter with more than 99.995% virus filtration efficiency, weighs less than 1.5kg, and gives more than 10 hours of battery up-time for usage. The airflow is more than 10 CFM, providing more comfort in a humid country like India (the NIOSH standard requirement is just 6CFM). The noise level is kept under 68 decibels inside the hood, making communication easier (even better than some commercially available PAPRs).

The launch event was attended by several esteemed dignitaries from AIMS, AMMACHI Labs, and Mata Amritandamayi Math. Swami Dayamritananda Puri, the executive director of Mata Amritanandamayi Math centers of North America, was the special guest for the program. Swamini Karunamrita Prana from Mata Amritanandamayi Math lit the lamp and inaugurated the event. Dr. Sreelakshmi P Leeladharan provided the welcome address and shared how Amma’s vision and guidance has inspired several teams in Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham to convert the challenges of the pandemic into several world-class innovations. Swami Dayamritananda Puri talked about the potential for the PAPRs to help people not just in the medical field but from all walks of life thereby creating a tangible impact on society. Dr. Bhavani R Rao, the director of AMMACHI Labs and CWEGE gave the opening remarks for the product launch where she touched upon the initiative and inventiveness of the scientists, doctors, and engineers from several Amrita institutions coming together for one cause – dealing with the pandemic with cutting edge and social innovations like the PAPR. Mr. Deepu D S gave the product presentation and technical brief on the PAPR and the technical standards it is designed to meet. Dr. Sundeep Vijayaraghavan, Professor, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery department shared some of his experiences during the product development, from conception to final prototype. Mr. Chad Kymal, Chairman of Omnex Inc talked about scaling up and taking the device to market. Mr Arun Kumar, the vice president of Omnex Global presented the product roll-out strategies. Dr. Mahesh Kappanayil, Professor, Paediatric Cardiology concluded the program and provided the vote of thanks. Dr. Prem Nair, Director of AIMS hospitals presided over the event and received the PAPRs.

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