The Department of Science and Technology’s Science and Engineering Research Board, has recently sanctioned funds worth Rs 25 lakh to IIT Kanpur for developing a protective coating that would help in making medicated masks and medical wear (PPE) for fighting COVID-19.
The IIT Kanpur team will be developing the coating using a combination of common polymers containing anti microbial properties and re-purposable anti-viral molecules and materials, which officials say will make it a cost-effective solution. The masks are specifically being developed for doctors and nurses who are treating COVID-19 patients and are therefore susceptible to contamination,
The researchers from the Department of Chemistry in IIT Kanpur, including Professor M.L.N.Rao, Dr.Ashis K Patra and Dr.Nagma Parveen, will be designing the virucidal coating using polymers which can resist attachment of bacteria and virus. An additional protection will be included to the polymer coating using molecules that can either destabilize and/or neutralize corona viruses and other viruses like influenza. The combination of anti-microbial polymer coating and functionalized drugs is also expected to provide a synergistic antiviral effect.
“While the most used varieties of masks work by filtration and retention of pathogens and aerosols based on their size, immobilizing anti-microbial and anti-viral ingredients on the fabric can be useful in critical environments, and for extending the life, re-usability and safer handling and disposal of masks. This additional defense will be especially valuable if it can be added at a fraction of the cost of the mask”, said DST Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma.
IIT Kanpur is likely to develop a basic prototype within the next three months. Meanwhile, DST is also supporting a Pune based start up, Weinnovate Biosolutions, along with the Department of Biotechnology, that has developed a non-alcoholic aqueous-based Colloidal Silver solution uniquely made from its NanoAgCide technology for disinfecting hands and environmental surfaces. This liquid is non-inflammable and free of hazardous chemicals. The solution has undergone lab testing, and the manufacturers have received the test license.
“We are aiming to manufacture primarily a minimum of 200 liters of colloidal silver solution per day with our manufacturing set up to cater to the demand of hand sanitization and disinfection. With our solution, we are positive to reduce the number in infection spread and helping India to be infection-free,” said Dr. Milind Choudhari, one of
the founders of Weinnovate Biosolutions.
“Nanoparticles are rapidly emerging as effective solutions to a variety of issues related to COVID-19, from theranostics (therapy plus diagnostics) to disinfection to imaging. The relevance of nanoparticles is owing to their size (less than 100 nm), which is comparable to that of COVID-19 virus, and a plethora of functionalities such as targeting and drug delivery that can be tailored”, said Prof. Sharma, Secretary.
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