Mangaluru

Professor builds Zero-Cov, a cost-effective disinfectant chamber

A team of researchers from NIT-K at Surathkal has developed this cost-effective disinfectant chamber that could disinfect personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, surgical masks, vegetables, packed food and other day-to-day items without causing them any damage.  

A team of researchers from National Institute of Technology-Karnataka at Surathkal near here has developed a cost-effective disinfectant chamber that could disinfect personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, surgical masks, vegetables, packed food and other day-to-day items without causing them damage.

Named Zero-Cov, the chamber is made out of an old refrigerator and uses UV-C radiation with a wavelength of 254 nanometres that could destroy or inactivate all surface contamination — bacteria and viruses up to 99.9 %, including novel coronavirus, said Arun M. Islur, Professor and Head, Department of Chemistry, NITK, who built Zero-Cov along with research scholar Syed Ibrahim.

Learning from reports from abroad that COVID-19 warriors were washing PPEs for reuse, the team looked for a simple solution that also could be used in every household as a preventive measure. It noted that items bought from markets, including books, ready-to-eat food, currency, etc., could not be washed at home.

Prof. Islur said, “By placing items, including vegetables and currency, in the disinfection chamber for 15 minutes, one can ensure destruction or inactivation of bacteria and viruses up to 99.9 %. UV technology is well proven and accepted by the scientific community and World Health Organisation has recommended this technology for surface disinfection. This is commonly used as disinfection in hospitals, laboratories and at water treatment plants,” he said.

He said that soon after switching on Zero-Cov, it should completely be closed as direct UV-C radiation on human body was harmful. Using an old refrigerator as a chamber and three Ultraviolet C lamps each consuming 11 watts of power, the team has brought out Zero-Cov. The chamber could be made up of any unused material made of metal, plastic or wood, while one UV lamp costs around ₹ 500.

The chamber could be placed at the entrance of the house or office, Prof. Islur said and added that there was no toxic agent or chemical. He is ready to technically assist residents who want to build Zero-Cov on their own.

He handed over Zero-Cov to NIT-K Director K. Uma Maheshwar Rao at his residence on Monday. An expert membrane technologist, Prof. Islur and his team also produced hand sanitisers recently.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 5:20:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/professor-builds-cost-effective-disinfectant-chamber-that-destroys-bacteria-viruses/article31341667.ece

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