India is likely to soon roll out two new innovations developed by institutes under the science and technology ministry to boost the country’s capabilities in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.DST Innovations to Fight Covid-19 are as follows:
The UV light Booth, Fumigation Chamber, Nasal Gel, 3D Face Shield, Anti Virus Coating, etc.
UV light booth
Scientists at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology(SCTIMST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST),Govt. of India, have designed and developed a disinfected barrier-examination booth for examining COVID-19 patients.
The innovative disinfected examination booth is closed like a telephone booth for examining the patient without direct contact with the doctor to prevent transmission of infection. It is equipped with a lamp, table fan, rack, and Ultraviolet (UV) light.
The installed UV light in the booth disinfects the chamber after each patient leaves.The UV light installed has a wavelength of 254nmwith a 15 watts rating, which effectively removes most of the viral load within 3 minutes of exposure. A pair of gloves provided in the examination booth allows the patient’s physical examination.Additionally, an entry tunnel onthe side frame is provided to pass a Stethoscope within the chamber. This feature would help the doctor to place stethoscope on the patient and listen to heart and breath sounds.
After the examination, the patient is requested to vacate the chamber, and UV light will be turned on for 3minutes. When UV exposure in the chamber is completed, the next patient is examined, and the sequence is repeated. The Examination Booth has dimensions of 210 cm(H)X 150cm(D)X 120cm(W), which provides enough space for thepatient.
The chamber will be five-feet wide and seven-feet tall, and have sensors to detect the entry of a person. The disinfection will last a quick five seconds. The gas will be used under World Health Organization’s permissible limits. It will not have a harmful effect on the person, it will disinfect them from other viruses also within five seconds
It will be used at commercial places like malls, metro entry points and educational institutes.
Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), is supporting a technology by the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering (DBB), IIT Bombay for capturing and inactivation of novel corona virus, the causative agent of COVID-19.
The funding will help the team from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay develop a gel that can be applied to nasal passage, which is a major entry point of the corona virus. This solution is not only expected to protect the safety of health workers, but can also lead to reduction in community transmission of COVID-19, thereby helping disease management.
Given the contagious nature of COVID-19, health providers including doctors and nurses are at maximum risk while taking care of COVID-19 patients, particularly asymptomatic ones who cannot be detected and pose a greater risk in spreading the disease.
The team is planning a 2-pronged approach to limit transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causative agent of COVID-19. Primarily, since viruses replicate within host cells of the lungs, the first component of the strategy will be to inhibit binding of viruses to host cells. While this is expected to reduce host cell infection, viruses will still remain active, therefore, raising the need to inactivate them.
Secondly, biological molecules would be incorporated, which would inactivate the trapped viruses in a manner similar to that of detergents. Upon completion, this approach will lead to development of gels that can be locally applied in the nasal cavity.
3D face shield
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)’s Central Electrochemical Research Institute, located in Tamil Nadu’s Karaikudi, is developing the shield to protect the face from coronavirus.
The mask will be reusable, and also have disinfectants inside it. Bengaluru-based Lycan 3D is developing this, said DST’s Sharma.
CSIR-CECRI is also offering digital training to make face masks by interested rural women to help and cater to the needs of the people. A 3D printed face shield with reusable options has been given to the Dispensary staff of CSIR-CECRI to protect them effectively from a sneeze, cough and aerosol communication of the patients. It also launched the preparation method for electrochemical synthesis of hypo-chlorite (Disinfectant) to MSMEs to increase the production rate
Anti-virus coating(DST Innovations to Fight Covid-19)
Bengaluru’s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the science and technology ministry, is developing an anti-microbial coating which can be used on surfaces, gloves, masks and clothes.
This coating can be used on plastic, PVC products and textiles. It has been developed by professor Jayanta Haldar’s team at JNCASR.
“This coating has been 100 per cent successful in influenza virus, killing them within 30 minutes of contact. It disrupts the membranes of pathogens. It will get effective in destroying Covid-19,” said Haldar.
Speedy diagnostic kits-(DST Innovations to Fight Covid-19)
Startup FastSense Diagnostics has developed two test kits for Covid-19 with DST funding. The company is in the process of rolling out both, said Sharma.
The first product is a modified polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection kit for confirmatory analysis. The test is designed to give results in lesser time than existing methods. This will mean approximately 50 samples can be tested in an hour.
The second is a portable chip-based module with sensing technology that will provide on the spot results in less than 15 minutes. The sample size for confirmatory tests can also be increased to 100 samples per hour in the future.