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Millennials wear innovator hat in combating Covid-19

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When Vensy Krishna’s mother was diagnosed with Covid-19 last week, her first instinct was to look for a hospital bed in Hyderabad, just in case it was needed. That search left her in despair.

Thankfully, the 25-year-old’s mother is doing well now. But the brief moment of crisis gave lawyer and self-taught coder Krishna the idea to collate resources readily available on the internet. It took Krishna two hours to set up Hyd COVID Resources, which went live on April 20.

The app and website are updated every 30 minutes with verified information about the availability of medicines, beds, plasma, ambulances and even mental health counselling. Since its launch, a team of 30 volunteers has been helping to update information. It clocked more than 50,000 users in the first 48 hours, with an average 5,000 every half hour on Friday. “These numbers are not something we’re proud of, but it gives us a chance to help in whatever way we can,” Krishna told ET.

From a helping app to a drone-enabled service to spray sanitising fluid, India’s young entrepreneurs are coming together to combat the pandemic.

Umang Galaiya (25), web developer at a tech company, thought of streamlining requests on Twitter as most appeals for help were made on the microblogging platform. On his website, covid-19.twitter.com, users can search for specific requests.

Tech to make it Simpler

These include beds, ICUs, ventilators, specific medicines such as Remdesivir, Fabiflu and Tocilizumab, and sort them by city. The website was launched on April 8.

“My timeline was flooded with requests, so I thought I could simplify the process using this app after a friend suggested it,” said Galaiya, who is currently based in Bengaluru.

Galaiya’s initial code took just 10 minutes to set up and was open source. Based on suggestions he received from other front-end engineers, he added sorting of results according to the aforementioned parameters. The website’s first 24 hours saw over 100,000 visitors, with hundreds of people online even during the wee hours.

Galaiya agrees with Krishna’s worry about the state of healthcare in India. “I hope usage of the website declines as soon as possible,” he said.

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder of Chennai-based drone service platform Garuda Aerospace, saw his business on the verge of closure due to Covid. Then, he saw a chance to turn adversity into opportunity.

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