Have developed compound that has potential to kill virus: Researchers

By, Mumbai
Apr 14, 2020 10:47 PM IST

Researchers from a Bengaluru-based institute have developed a compound that may potentially kill the Sars-Cov-2 virus on any surface. Sars-Cov-2 is the strain of coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

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A team of scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (InStem) and other research institutes in Bengaluru are developing new disinfection technology; efficient sampling and new pooled testing methods; and technologies to screen potential drugs to treat the virus.

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Among these is a compound developed at Instem’s lab, which potentially kills the virus on any surface. “The indigenously-designed compound when stitched on masks, coats and other protective gear acts as a disinfectant and neutralises the virus,” said Praveen Vemula, one of the principal investigators and a member of the faculty at InStem. “Recent studies have shown the virus can stay alive on a mask for a week to a couple of days. The compound-embedded personal protective equipment can be washed and reused at least 25 times,” he said. Efforts are currently on to identify industry partners to scale up production of the compound and InSteam is discussing whether or not to file a patent for their product.

While Covid-19 pooled testing is being developed owing to an acute shortage of reagents for the manufacture and procurement of Covid-19 diagnostic test kits, developing a rapid colour-based assay for point-of-care Covid-19 detection is also underway. With research suggesting that anosmia – loss of sense-of-smell – is a symptom of Covid-19, NCBS scientists have proposed an olfactory test for anosmia to identify potential Covid-19 clusters and high-risk individuals.

Satyajit Major, director of NCBS, said “Wanting to utilise our depth of expertise in the basic sciences, we decided to shift our thinking and efforts to try and mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic.” Other research projects include a rapid screening method of FDA-approved drugs that interfere with viral entry and processing; a study to ascertain if existing antivirals for other coronaviridae infections can be repurposed; and developing mathematical models on the spread of Covid-19.

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    Snehal Fernandes is senior assistant editor at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. She writes on science and technology, environment, sustainable development, climate change, and nuclear energy. In 2012, she was awarded ‘The Press Club Award for Excellence in Journalism’ (Political category) for reports on Goa mining scam. Prior to HT, she wrote on education and transport at the Indian Express.

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