IIT-Madras alumnus creates fabric that can kill bacteria, airborne viruses

“The fabric is proven and tested against H1N1, Covid-19, Ecoli, and Salmonella and is safe against dust, S02, NO2, pollen and ultraviolet A and B sun rays,” says Deepthi, a 2007 IIT-Madras alumnus.

Published: 02nd December 2020 04:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2020 05:50 PM   |  A+A-

IIT-Madras alumnus and founder of Hyderabad-based Dibbu Solutions Deepthi Nathala (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Imagine wearing a protective covering that not only protects you from dust and grime, but claims to block 99 per cent UV rays, 95 per cent air pollution, and inhibits/kills 99 per cent bacteria and viruses! At the TiE Women Regional Finals, hosted by TiE Hyderabad recently, Hyderabad-based Dibbu Solutions, founded by Deepthi Nathala, was adjudged the first runner-up for their product 'Hecoll', a washable and reusable face mask and headgear that protects us from airborne viruses.

“The fabric is proven and tested against H1N1, Covid-19, Ecoli, and Salmonella and is safe against dust, S02, NO2, pollen and ultraviolet A and B sun rays,” says Deepthi, a 2007 IIT-Madras alumnus. Some of their innovative products include Hecoll anti-virus fabric and products.

According to Deepthi, the one-year-old Hyderabad-based startup manufactures textile using disinfectants. “The fabric is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-dust, anti-pollution and is technically engineered self-disinfectant cotton,” shares Deepthi. She moved back to India last year after working in California, USA, and Dubai, UAE.

What prompted her to make this product? She says, “Hyderabad’s pollution and the scorching tropical sun were too much to bear. I started looking for solutions. Sunscreen was not an option as many brands are getting banned as they use harsh chemicals and 142 billion of plastic waste that is being generated."

She adds, “Being a nanotechnologist, I did not support surgical mask and N95 masks which are a disaster to dispose of – millions of contaminated waste – as they are biomedical waste.” Looking for natural solutions, she observed many people wrap dupattas and handkerchiefs around their heads.

“Out of curiosity, I sent these samples to National laboratories only to find that they protect only from 10 per cent UV rays and 10 per cent air pollution,” she informs. “Having proof in terms of numbers, we decided to work towards inventing a revolutionary cotton fabric which can block 99 per cent UV rays, kill bacteria and virus upon contact, and filters 95 per cent air pollution,” she says. What does Hecoll mean? “Hecoll stands for ‘Head Cover for All’. It is a brand that aims to transform how individuals across the globe view the term ‘safety’,” answers Deepthi.

The wide range of fabric-based products is technologically advanced, oriented towards 100 per cent sustainability, and is contemporary in design. “Firm believers in sustainability, we ensure that all our products are made with material that is completely compostable in 14 weeks.” All the products are stitched by women.

Deepthi says, “We employed women who have previously worked as farm-hands and housemaids. We taught them tailoring and stitching.” The fabric comes in seven colours and can be ordered meter wise, or the masks can be bought on Amazon or Flipkart.

How long does the effect of the fabric last? Deepthi says, “We recommend using the products for six months with regular wash.” Aiming to expand her business, Deepthi reiterates, “We are a conscious brand – we believe in placing the people and the planet first, striving for meaningful social and ecological impact.”

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