All about pure air

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All about pure air

Sunday, 30 May 2021 | Shalini Saksena

All about pure air

From wearing masks, to a liquid-based anti-pollution product that aims to reduce the PM levels to a device that reduces COVID viral load to 99.9% in the air and surfaces, the present pandemic made our lives artificial, says SHALINI SAKSENA

Since the COVID-19 hit the world last year, our lives have never been the way it was before the pandemic took over the world. While doctors have been advising people to wear masks, maintain social distancing, there have been many companies and that have been conducting research and coming up with innovative devices that can make it a bit more easier to live a life without fear.

Last year, as well people were apprehensive when there was talk of the lockdown opening. Today, the situation is even more scary given that the virus is air borne. From anti-viral fabric as a protective gear to antibacterial sprays to prevent spread of infection to liquid-based anti-pollution product aims to reduce the PM levels up to 65 per cent in seven days, innovators are leaving no stone unturned to ensure safety and protection for all. The latest to join the innovative list is Wolf Air Mask.

According to Boniface Gasper, director and chief scientific officer  of Allabout Innovations the device neutralises SAR-COV2 virus to 99.9 per cent. “It is an air sterilisation device that works on the plasma air sterilisation technology. The present pandemic has made is mandatory that we wear a mask at all times and sanitise our hands regularly to prevent the infection from spreading. We have to maintain social distancing as well. This device, besides following the protocol mentioned, will go a step ahead. It works in a different manner. Since the virus is now airborne, inside closed environment, the dangers are even more especially where ACs work the chance is that the virus in aerosol form will linger up to four to five hours. There was no way to neutralise that aerosoled virus. In order to address this, the Centre announced that there was need to research on this. This is where we stepped in,” Gasper says.

After a lot of research and discussions, the company decided to use the negative ion methodology. In other words, it is a needle point plasma negative ion generator, country’s first ion-based airmask that provides 99.9 per cent real-time protection from all kinds of bacteria and viruses, airborne mold corona or influenza viruses, allergens, bacteria, pollens and dust in an enclosed space.

Gasper tells you that the negative ions is nothing but what most of us have studied in Class X and the three stages of matter — solid, liquid and gas. Then there is the fourth stage which is plasma.

The device itself works on a simple technology. The negative ions discharged by the it bind with the virus surface and transform into highly oxidising OH radicals, drawing out the Hydrogen from the spike protein. The protein is then degraded, and OH radical returns as water into the atmosphere neutralising the virus or any other microbe in the environment effectively.  “It is a plug-in device. Once you plug it in, it starts doing its work. It works 24X7 in an occupied space. If there are no people in that space, the device can be switched off and switched on when the first person arrives. Primarily, the device has been created to work in places like hospitals that require the air to be neutralised of the the virus; that is our priority, to make sure that the hospitals and healthcare workers are safe. The product is available in the market and is priced at `29,500 including GST for 1,000 sq feet area. But it can be installed at home as well. There is a rise in demand for this device and we have already prototyped a device for 250 sq feet and a personalised airmask, a device that one can carry with oneself,” Gasper tells you. This personalised device, he says, can be put on a table top to neutralise the aerosol and the person will not be infected.

The product has undergone more than 10 studies with the device where the efficacy of the device has been 99.9 per cent on microbes. “The device has also been tested against bacteriophage, it is in fact a virus similar to Coronavirus’ structure; here also we have seen success. Then we tested the device on SAR-COV2 with the  ICMR recommendation at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in Trivandrum, Kerala. The research methodology used to carry out such tests is that a certain number of viruses are kept under specified quarantine  area. There is a controlled mechanism to measure. Then there is a research mechanism as well. We create two such facilities. One where the machine is working, and the other where there is no such device. We then measure the number of viruses in the facility through RT-PCR. This is then analyse which gene is not present. If the gene is absent, the device works for that,” Gasper explains.

Unfortunately, since in India, there is no facility to conduct it on a 1,000 sq feet lab with Coronavirus but it can be cross validated with other ambient microbes. However, it has been proven that the device works on the Coronavirus in an much smaller area and if it is working on this area small scale, it will work on a much larger space as well.

“This means that wherever this device is placed, it will neutralise the virus and the air will be sterlised. The world is already using such a device — Denmark and Dubai are a few countries to name where they are using it. However, it doesn’t mean that one can do away with the protocol of wearing masks, using sanitiser, maintain social distancing. We are hoping that this device will also become another thing that will be added to the protocol. However, one has to understand that that his device is different from air purifiers that many people use regularly in their home,” Gasper tells you.

In the air purifier, the air gets filtered through the hyperfilter. “There is protocol to clean this as well since these particles are biohazard. Here, the aerosols generated can be transmitted to the people sitting in the room. With Airmask. it negates the effect and sterilises the air; in other works it is a live sterlisation process,” Gasper says.

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