Large area sanitization is very important during Covid19 crisis - Disinfection refers to specific measures taken to control, deactivate or kill infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria. Disinfection is normally undertaken on an infrequent basis, during periodic maintenance checks or after a public health event, such as the suspected carriage of an infectious passenger. As health workers and governments around the world work to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, large-scale disinfection efforts are becoming routine. Using methods ranging from simple hand-wiping to mobile spray cannons, workers and volunteers are attempting to halt the transfer of the virus by touch. While there are questions about the efficacy of some of the broader spraying tactics, disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces can help stop the spread of the virus. The current available disinfectant used sodiumhypochlorite (bleach) is not effective for viruses and the process has to be carried out on daily basis, making its cost very high. We propose here a novel nanomaterial active against viruses, which can be used using sea water as the medium for large scale disinfection.

What it does

It is reported that globally there are various measures to combat the effect of coronavirus. The need for disinfectants has got essential that one of the largest bleaching powder companies in China is running at full capacity to meet demand. But it is well known that chlorine bleach doesn't actually penetrate bodily fluids and cannot penetrate grease and grime on surfaces and cannot be effective on killing the virus. Inhaling of bleach is also another kind of hazard to humans. Qatar Airways has used Viraclean, a hospital-grade disinfectant made by Sydney-based Whiteley Corp, which can kill different bacteria and virus. Microgen a US based company is selling the disinfectant D-125 which contains a 3rd generation twin chain quaternary ammonium compound. In our proposal we are planning to utilize easily available novel materials and cost effective. Additionally, the use of sea water containing salinity and basic pH are apt for the synthesis of nanomaterials and also due to huge availability of sea water, larger areas can be disinfected. It will not only be a crucial in Indian startup ecosystem but also on the world as everyone are looking for effective alternatives to bleaching powder. We have a solid belief that the same will be useful in Italy and USA as well for larger scale implementation.

How I built it

As we have seen most of the disinfectant used indoors are made of IPA or ethanol, or surfactants. Large area applications of disinfectants cannot be using IPA or ethanol, and currently bleaching powder is used which is not effective against viruses. We propose here to prepare a novel aqua based sanitizer cum disinfectant using AB2O4 type spinel intimate nano junction using sea water as the media for the nanomaterials. The use of seawater will minimize the cost of IPA or ethanol and still be more effective. The sea water will be filtered through a clay-based filter to turn down any other algae or other fouling agents and then to use for our disinfectant. The salinity, basic pH (8.5) offers it to be a good candidate for the process. We know that AB2O4 type material is quite effective against a host of viruses and bacteria. The mechanism behind this could be due to forming the nanostructures mostly less than 50 nm can effectively bind and inhibit the positive stranded RNA present in the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Additionally, it will kill the virus on the surface and remain stable for few days, minimizing the need for disinfection on a daily basis.

Challenges I ran into

As we are aware with the current market demand on IPA/ethanol which can be used indoors owing to the cost, we need to think of alternatives quickly in order to disinfect the whole of the outdoors across the states and the country. We a group of scientists are working hard to ensure that we fight against coronavirus by disinfecting the outdoors, which will aid us to come back to normalcy.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Top 30 in Hack the Crisis India for this idea

What I learned

The current available disinfectant is sodiumhypochlorite (bleach) in high bulk quantities is not effective for viruses and this process has to be carried out on daily basis, making its cost very high. We propose here a novel nanomaterial active against viruses, which can be prepared using sea water as the medium for large scale disinfection. Additionally, the nanomaterials will kill the virus on the surface and remain stable for few days, minimizing the need for disinfection on a daily basis.  The major advantages with our product are:

  1. The nanomaterials are stable for almost 2 weeks and hence does not need a daily basis disinfection.
  2. We need only ng/mL quantity of the novel nanomaterial for the disinfection and hence it is cost effective.
  3. Use of sea water helps to disinfect outdoors even where local water bodies supply is minimal. End users: We are interested to demonstrate our technology to the government, especially the health ministry for taking it up to the different district administrations. • According to the news report in The Hindu dated 22.03.2020, 500 tanker lorries each of capacity 10000 litres were used to disinfect almost 33000 streets of Chennai. Civic officials have been instructed to mix 300 kg of bleaching powder with 10,000 litres of water in each tanker lorry to carry out disinfection operations across the city, making the cost very high for the Govt.  ( • We are proposing a simple solution of mixing 1 kg our nanomaterial product for 10000 litres of water and use it for 0.01 sq. km. For example, Chennai having an area of 426 sq. km, will require 4260 kg of our product only, compared to the 150000 kg of bleaching powder used as per the report, roughly 30 times lower. Price of our product will be Rs.15-20 per litre to be used once in two weeks, whereas the non-effective bleaching powder is Rs.60/kg also needs to be used daily basis.  SWOT analysis of our product
  4. Strength – Usage of nanomaterials, Effective against viruses, Usage of pg/ml will not harm or create adverse side effects, compared to using 300 kg of bleaching powder we will be using 1 kg only per 10000 litre.
  5. Weakness – Transporting sea water to other areas may be a possible problem.
  6. Opportunities – We have calculated the cost to be Rs. 25-30 per litre of the final product. We will be first approaching the Health ministry after proper certification of the product and transfer the technology. We intend to set up each production plant in each state to transfer the ideas under the control of the state health secretary. From there we will transfer the knowledge of usage of the material, through video/zoom conferencing to train the technical in different district health quarters.
  7. Threats – Usage of sea water can be a threat where places are far away from the sea. We have thought of a small modification to the product to overcome this, and can be used in water from local river bodies.

What's next for Aqua Sanitizer

• Our product is a B2B model, we intend to train our customers with our product formulation and usage through SOP. All these materials can be completely made in India, and thus strengthening “Make in India” movement.  • Definitely, this product is quite useful in disinfection for a host of microbes, including viruses and so it can be used post lockdown, since maintaining a good hygienic environment is necessary to overcome such pandemics in the future.



antiviral, chemicals, disinfection, outdoor

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