Kerala

Air sanitiser from NIIST to disinfect aerosols

Low-cost unit ideal for enclosed spaces such as hospitals where chances of disease transmission are high

The National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST) here has developed a low-cost air sanitiser which could prove ideal for enclosed public spaces such as hospitals, given the COVID-19 scenario.

The system ‘disinfects’ aerosols, the fine particles suspended in air.

It exposes them to a combination of antimicrobial filters and germicidal UVC radiation and releases clean air.

Many infectious diseases of bacterial, fungal and viral origin are transmitted through aerosols, which are minute (micron size) respiratory droplets that reach air when people cough, sneeze or even talk.

It was reported that aerosolised COVID-19 could move around a radius of 13 feet from an infected person, NIIST officials said.

“Direct inhalation can take these aerosols deep into the lungs or aerosols can get deposited on surfaces leading to a source of contact transmission. Studies related to COVID-19 have further reported that coronavirus can stay active in aerosols up to three hours (depending on surrounding conditions) and on surfaces up to several days,” the institute said in a statement here.

Reduction in bacteria

The air sanitiser was developed by a team led by Krishnakumar B., Principal Scientist, NIIST.

The team tested the unit with aerosols spiked with known bacterial cultures of Staph aureus and E. coli, and found a significant reduction in bacterial cell count in the exhaust air.

“Following the outbreak, we had embarked upon a number of initiatives to help the public fight the pandemic. The air sanitiser can find application in public spaces such as hospitals, seminar halls and clinics where the chances of aerosol-mediated disease transmission are higher,” NIIST director Ajayaghosh A. told The Hindu.

The NIIST has now transferred the technical know-how to M/s Ecocure Technologies, Thiruvananthapuram, an MSME, for commercial production.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 4:49:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/fighting-covid-19-niist-develops-air-sanitiser/article31782478.ece

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