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MediDrone Project Underway to Help Tackle NHS Distribution Issues During COVID-19 Pandemic

"Improving Distribution, Reducing Transmission, Saving Lives"

COVID-19 has left many vulnerable people, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, under strict lockdown, and at significant risk if they become infected. ​

Some types of medication are time critical and so getting this to those patients in time is extremely important to prevent fatalities. Human to human contact through the supply chain also creates a significant risk to these individuals as it creates opportunity for transmission. Reducing human involvement in these delivery chains, and making them faster and more robust is therefore critical during this crisis.

COVID-19 testing is best served by hub and spoke models where patients are tested locally at mobile labs and GP surgeries with samples being taken to centralised testing facilities. A recent research paper by Linköping University provides evidence that drones are the most effective way of delivering these test samples.

Estimates were made that for a medium-size city with around 100,000 inhabitants, and 36 drones each carrying 100 tests would be sufficient to visit everyone once every 4 days and that regular mass-testing of individuals even just every 30 days — which roughly amounts to randomly testing around 3.3 per cent of the population every day — 'would flatten any curve quite significantly.'

The Solution

The MediDrone solution comprises a shuttle delivery service using small drones for light weight medical supplies between hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies. Medical practitioners can send small items such as time critical medicines and tests between locations quickly, easily and without human to human contact.

The service is a game changer for medical centres as it provides an almost instantaneous means to transport small time-critical supplies between locations without direct human involvement. It solves some of the big challenges the UK faces in terms of moving medical care closer to the patient, reducing the need for vulnerable people to travel large distances, and eliminating the need for them to visit locations where risk of infection is high.


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