BENGALURU: Researchers from DBT-inStem have developed a germicidal liquid that can increase the effectiveness of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves and bodysuits by enabling them to kill viruses, in addition to filtering.
The efficacy of the germicidal cloth against SARS-CoV-2 is based on the premise that the virus belongs to the family of 'enveloped viruses'. These types of virus can be deactivated with the compound due to their novel molecular design.
The researchers have already tested a germicidal-mask prototype against multiple proxy viruses like lentivirus and Sendi virus that belong to the family of enveloped viruses. Tests were held at labs of the principal researchers Dr Praveen Vemula (inStem) and Dr Satyajit Mayor (NCBS). The findings suggests that the technology can be effective against SARS-CoV-2 as well.
The team of students, Siju, Mahendra Mohan, Kriti Biligiri, Parijat Sil, and Theja PP, who have tested the antiviral properties of the technology are now waiting to test its efficacy on the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.
The germicide can be infused into the PPE fabric by cloth manufacturing companies during the production process. However, Vemula told The New Indian Express that it can be used by households too.
"For example, at home, cloth can be dipped into this solution and heated on a frying pan for 15 minutes. It will get infused into the cloth. But one caution is when we make at home, it might not have uniform coating through tube cloth like the industrial process. As an added advantage, the process of attaching the module whose key base is an organic molecule to the fabric is simple, scaleable and cost effective -- it overcomes the drawbacks of disposable PPE which has fewer use cycles. Upon testing, the module was found to still be present in the fabric with its anti-viral/microbial properties intact for at least up to 25 cycles of standard detergent wash (industrial grade)," he said.
The idea at the core of the design is to develop one molecule which can kill all bacteria and viruses, Vemula said, adding that eventually, the molecule coated fabric can be used in hospitals to reduce infections.
The team has developed four versions to come up with the final module which is the most efficient.