New Delhi: As many as 1,000 innovative ion generators would be installed in Covid-19 hospitals across Maharashtra to reduce the viral loads of areas exposed to the virus, said Department of Science and Technology, on Monday.
Maharashtra is among the states with the highest positive cases in the country.
The new technology has been designed by Pune-based Startup incubatee of Scitech Park. The Department of Science and Technology has already released ₹1 crore for manufacturing 1,000 such units which would be ready for installation soon.
The technology consists of specialized negative-ion generators called Scitech Airon machines which work by reducing the viral load in closed areas exposed to the virus within a few hours. This is done by generating negatively charged ions at a high rate of hundred million per 8 seconds (10 ions per sec). These ions form clusters around microparticles such as viruses and render them inactive through a chemical reaction.
According to scientists, it works like an “atmospheric detergent”, wherein the ion generator helps in the breakdown of the outer protein of the allergens, viruses, and bacteria.
“It has already been installed in the civic-run Naidu hospital, which has a certified quarantine facility and would be scaled up for use in other quarantine facilities in the state. It has been duly tested and found effective in reducing the viral load by 99% in closed settings- (500 sq feet to 1,000 sq feet) within hours. It was one technology which had potential and market adaptability,” said senior scientist Anita Gupta, Adviser and Associate Head (Innovation & Entrepreneurship) DST.
It is significant to note that SARS-Cov2 which causes Covid-19 is not air-borne, but studies show that it remains in the air at least for 2-3 hours post aerolization, when someone infected with the virus sneezes, without covering his/her mouth. According to department scientists, the machine could help in maintaining the well-being of the doctors and staff in these hospitals.
The technology was initially developed under a programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and is being rapidly scaled up in view of the rising challenge of Covid-19 in the country. The new machines would be manufactured by Pune-based company JClean Weather technologies.
According to the department, the efficacy of the Ion generator has already been scientifically tested on different types of pathogens like the influenza virus, coxsackie virus, polio virus, human coronavirus, a range of allergens, bacteria, and fungi. “It could also be useful against floating viruses in the air in any closed setting or confined space like a plane cabins or even houses,” added Gupta.