Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Combat Casualty Drugs


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Combat casualty drugs

Mains level: Utility of CCDs for soldiers on battleground


  • DRDO’s medical laboratory has come up with a range of ‘combat casualty drugs’ that can extend the golden hour till the trooper is shifted to hospital.
  • These indigenously made medicines will be a boon for paramilitary and defence personnel during warfare.

Combat Casualty Drugs

  • These drugs are developed at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory of the DRDO.
  • The main battlefield emergencies are excess bleeding, sepsis, shock, hypovolemia (decreased blood volume) and pain.
  • The spectrum includes bleeding wound sealants, super absorptive dressings, and glycerated salines, all of which can save lives in the event of warfare in a jungle and high altitude areas as well as in terror attacks.

Why such move?

  • There is only one medical person and limited equipment to take care of soldiers during combat in most cases.
  • This is compounded by battlefield conditions such as forests, hilly terrain, and inaccessibility of vehicles, experts said.
  • Chances of survival and minimum disability are highest when effective first aid care is given within the golden hour.

Take a look of few CCDs

I. Glycerated Salines

  • Among the drugs developed is glycerated saline, a battlefield intravenous fluid that does not freeze till -18C and is useful in handling trauma cases in high altitude areas.
  • The glycerated saline, unlike normal saline, reduces inflammation.
  • The drug can be life-saving, particularly if the traumatic edema(the collection of fluid in tissues and cavities of the body) is in the brain or lungs.
  • It has life-saving capacities as it gives more time to the medical personnel to shift the wounded patient to a higher care facility.

II. Special Medicated Dressing

  • INMAS has also developed a special medicated dressing material which is 200 times more absorptive than normal dressings during bleeding wounds.
  • The cellulose fibre-based dressings are more effective in stopping bleeding and keeping the wound clean.
  • Additionally, antiseptics, antibiotics and curcumin can be impregnated in the dressing which acts as a slow drug release system.

III. Chitosan gel

  • INMAS has developed a chitosan gel which helps in preventing blood loss by forming a film over the wound.
  • Coupled with platelets and red blood cells aggregation, it stops the bleeding.
  • Its antibacterial and wound health properties are of added benefit.

IV. Hypocholorous acid disinfectant

  • Part of the range is hypocholorous acid (HOCL), a disinfectant for troopers involved in jungle warfare.
  • It is helpful in treating necrotising fascitis, a rapidly progressing bacterial infection of soft tissues.
  • Bacterial toxins cause local tissue damage and necrosis, as well as blunt immune system responses.
  • In such cases, pure 0.01% HOCL which has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity can rapidly neutralise bacterial toxins.

V. Nalbuphine injection

  • INMAS scientists have also discovered a new route for administering the Nalbuphine injection to reduce pain during mutilating war injuries.
  • The 10 mg injection of Nalbuphine hydrochloride is more effective for an injured trooper if it is given through the submental/sublingual route instead of intra-muscular or intravenous route.
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