NEW DELHI: The IIT-Delhi has developed an ozone-based decontamination device to reduce bio-medical waste and enable safe re-use of N-95 face masks. The device, called Chakr DeCoV, will help re-use a mask up to 10 times. It was launched on Friday via a video-conference by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey.
The mechanism was developed by an IIT start-up — Chakra Innovation — which has been approved by the Indian Medical Council of Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV). According to the IIT, the device can kill up to 99.99 per cent of bacteria and virus in the mask. According to its makers, the device can decontaminate an N-95 mask in 90 minutes, following which it can be re-used 10 times.
The officials said ozone is a strong oxidizing agent that destroys viruses by diffusing through the protein coat, resulting in damage to the viral RNA (ribonucleic acid) hence destroying the virus. “Proper dosage and exposure of Ozone can result in inactivation of SARS CoV-2 and a 99.9999% reduction in bacterial load, after which an N-95 mask can be re-used for up to 10 times without any impact on the filtration efficiency,” said Tushar Batham, vice-president engineering, under whom the device has been developed.
“Chakr DeCoV is built with an innovative ozone-based decontamination mechanism, which ensures effective decontamination with high reliability and safety, as needed in a hospital environment,” said Kushagra Srivastava, CEO, Chakr Innovation. Prof V Ramgopal Rao, director of the IIT-D, said: “The institution is committed to addressing the Covid-19 problem through its technological prowess. When it comes to serving the hospitals and our medical professionals, there is a need for providing high quality PPE kits and at the same time, ensure their possible re-use and a safe disposal.”