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Home / Health / Covid Fight: 10 technologies developed for disinfection

Covid Fight: 10 technologies developed for disinfection

Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) was launched in April after the outbreak to scout for and support technologies that can be scaled up easily for controlling and managing the infectious disease.

health Updated: Oct 15, 2020, 06:17 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The initiative, started at a cost of Rs 56 crore, was meant to identify 50 innovations for ventilators and other respiratory aids, protective gear, sanitisers and disinfectants, diagnostics and therapeutics.
The initiative, started at a cost of Rs 56 crore, was meant to identify 50 innovations for ventilators and other respiratory aids, protective gear, sanitisers and disinfectants, diagnostics and therapeutics. (AP file photo. Representative image)

New Delhi At least 10 innovative technologies for disinfection using ultraviolet radiation, ozone, and microplasma have been developed by startups supported by the Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) ,an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

CAWACH was launched in April after the outbreak to scout for and support technologies that can be scaled up easily for controlling and managing the infectious disease. The initiative, started at a cost of Rs 56 crore, was meant to identify 50 innovations for ventilators and other respiratory aids, protective gear, sanitisers and disinfectants, diagnostics and therapeutics.

Among the innovations that have resulted are a refrigerator-like device developed by Mumbai-based Inphlox Water Systems that disinfects personal protective gear such as N-95 masks and coveralls used by health-care workers so that they can be reused.

“The health-care workers will just have to put in their protective gear after the shift in the machine and run it for a cycle to disinfect it and wear it again. It uses ozone which is known to be one of the best agents for killing bacteria and viruses,” said Abhijit VVR, co-founder, Inphlox.

Click here for complete coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

In addition to ozone, the device uses electrostatic discharge and ultraviolet light to ensure that the protective gear has no viral particles left. The device had initially been designed to clean polluted water and wastewater.

The device is being sent to Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)-Hyderabad for testing.

“The Bombay team will test it with the bacteria E..coli and an RNA virus MS2 phage just like the one that causes Covid-19. And, at CCMB the product will be tested with Sars-CoV-2 {the virus that causes Covid-19} to see how effectively the virus gets destroyed and how long does it take. The tests will also tell us how many times the products can be reused,” said Abhijit.

The cost of the machine will be offset by the cost of the protective gear that big hospitals buy for about 15 days, he said.

Another technology developed for water purification by the Coimbatore-based Eta Purification can be used to disinfect spaces using microplasma or partially ionised gasses. This is more effective at killing viruses than sodium hypochlorite that is extensively used to disinfect spaces.

The technology called COSMO (Complete Sterilization by Microplasma Oxidation) system can rapidly disinfect areas like quarantine facilities, hospitals, and the surfaces and equipment there. The device uses microchannels to convert room air to ozone for disinfection.

“This is a very efficient system to disinfect critical care areas. The traditional decontamination methods fail to deal with such a high level of colonisation and contamination effectively. We have found that our innovative micro-plasma sterilization in health care settings reduced the concentration of infectious bacteria and virus by a factor of more than 103, and in some cases beyond detection limit. Plus, it is eco-friendly. The disinfectant is produced directly from air and after the disinfection process, it quickly reverts back to atmospheric oxygen, leaving no harmful disinfection by-products,” said Dr Dinesh Venkat, fourder-director of Eta Purification.

Also Read| Covid-19: What you need to know today

MicroGo India has developed a system that can be deployed in offices to ensure 100% compliance with hand hygiene by employees. “The best way to prevent getting Covid-19 is to wear a mask, maintain social distance and {follow} proper hand hygiene. However, the problem is people either do not know or do not follow the proper way to wash or sanitise their hands – the six steps for 20 seconds,” said Dr Rachna Dave, founder of MicroGo.

The sanitiser dispenser developed by MicroGo can record whether a person is sanitising his or her hands when they should and whether they are doing so properly.

“For example, an office can feed in the protocol that all employees must sanitise their hands while entering the office. MicroGo can then give a report on who went in without properly sanitising their hands with the help of an individualised button. Or, there could be a simpler programming to check how many people are sanitising their hands when they step out in the airport,” said Dave.

The device costs between R 8,000 and Rs. 38,000 depending on the type of protocol fixed for its use. The cost per person comes to just 27 paise. The company can manufacture 500 units each week.

“Through these and other compelling examples of Covid-19-relevant products and technologies, the deep foundations of Indian science and technology have rapidly come to the fore by a seamless marriage of knowledge creation and its consumption. The structures and processes which made these extraordinary achievements possible are being incorporated in the upcoming Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020,” said Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, DST.

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