Mangaluru, April 15, 2020: National Institute of Technology Karnataka’s (NITK) ongoing research to contain coronavirus has resulted in simple innovations to fight the global pandemic.
After producing hand sanitisers to overcome the acute shortage, NITK has now developed a ‘disinfection chamber’ to destroy the virus contaminating the surface of objects, ‘splits’ to double the capacity of ventilators, ‘laser cut face shields’ and ‘N95 masks’.
Professor and Head, Department of Chemistry, NITK-Surathkal Dr Arun M Isloor said by learning from the mistakes of European countries and the USA (where health care providers were forced to reuse safety gears due to acute scarcity of disposable items) they decided on a simple solution to fight the crisis in India.
Prof Isloor, along with research scholar Syed Ibrahim, after much brainstorming eventually developed a disinfection chamber, ‘Zero-Cov’.
This chamber controls surface contamination of bacteria and viruses, including Covid-19.
“By placing items, including vegetables and currency notes in the disinfection chamber for 15 minutes, one can ensure destruction or inactivation of bacteria and viruses by 99.9%,” said Prof Isloor.
The UV-C radiation technology with a wavelength of 254 nanometers can destroy the nucleic acids of any germs present on the surfaces.
“UV technology is well proven and accepted by the scientific community and WHO has recommended this technology for surface disinfection,” Prof Isloor said and added that it was commonly used as a disinfectant in hospitals, laboratories and water treatment plants.
Zero-Cov also can disinfect Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, surgical masks, vegetables, packed food items, currencies and other day-to-day items.
An old refrigerator with some changes was turned into a disinfection chamber, Zero-Cov’, and handed over to NITK Director Prof K Uma Maheshwar Rao and his wife Neeraja Rao (serving as Headmistress,
Kendriya Vidyalaya No 2 in Yekkur) at their residence.
Dean (Faculty Welfare) Prof M S Bhat, Deputy Director Prof Anantanarayanan and Dean (Research) Prof Sripathi Acharya were present.
Dr Isloor also asserts that the disinfection chamber could be used in every household as a preventive measure in spreading of coronavirus.
After switching on the Zero-Cov, the door must be closed completely, as the direct UV-C radiation on the human body can cause harmful effects. The prototype consumes 11 watts of electricity. Dr Isloor is ready to technically assist anyone keen on building it for their own usage.
In order to overcome the shortage of ventilators, Prof K V Gangadharan and Dr Pruthviraj U of Centre for System Design (CSD), NITK, have been working on doubling the capacity of ventilators with the help of circuit splitter and other components.
The team intends to complete the process of making 100 laser cut face shields and 1,000 masks for security personnel, police and municipality personnel in the NITK.