UV Technology-Based Innovation to Battle Coronavirus
In the current scenario wherein the Covid-19 pandemic is causing major socio-economic shake-up/distress to numerous countries across the globe, it has become imperative to identify technological opportunities and thereby find unique solutions to contain or at least mitigate the chances of serious outbreaks of this infectious disease. At this point in time, Log 9 Materials Pvt. Ltd., a Bengaluru-headquartered nanotechnology start-up, has come up with an innovative, first-of-its-kind product named CoronaOven that makes use of UV-C light (having wavelength of 253.7 nm) in combination with significant design parameters in order to disinfect surfaces (of various objects, personal protective equipments, etc.) from germs including bacteria and viruses.
CoronaOven is a lightweight, portable disinfection chamber (of 20 litres volume) specifically designed to kill various types of Coronoviruses, including the Novel Coronavirus. It is a proprietary, patent-pending device conceptualized and designed by Log 9, based upon the existing scientific principle of UltraViolet germicidal irradiation (a disinfection method applying short-wavelength UVC rays). What makes the product stand out is its ability to kill virus/pathogens within 10 minutes approximately and from all types of surfaces, after the object is placed inside the chamber for undergoing disinfection.
Speaking about the newly engineered, time-critical product, Mr. Akshay Singhal, Founder & CEO, Log 9 Materials says, “We at Log 9 are proud to be able to present a novel solution to the market pertaining to India and the world’s ongoing battle against Covid-19. The product here in context, i.e. the CoronaOven has been specifically designed by us keeping in mind the cell structure and characteristics of ‘the Corona family of viruses’. We were able to create this product and conduct simulations for the same within a very short timeframe (only in the last two weeks or so) basis our existing knowledge of nanoscience as well as competence in terms of rapid prototyping and scientific product development.”
Elaborating further on the uniqueness of the product, Akshay Singhal adds, “Not only does the CoronaOven provide accurate and necessary energy via multi-focal UVC radiation on each point on the surface on an object to be disinfected/sterilized, but also guarantees 100% destruction of the Coronoviruses and other harmful microorganisms. It is a scalable and cost-effective solution built with easily available materials, and is as simple to use as a normal microwave. The product is now ready for mass deployment and we are going to manufacture the first batch of CoronaOven in the next 7-10 days.”
CoronaOven has been enlisted by Log 9 Materials on Government of India’s e-marketplace portal (www.gem.gov.in) and is expected to be commercialized on a large scale soon, reaching out to government agencies, healthcare providers, and other key stakeholders as well as the common public. The product will be made available in two variants: one, as a plug-in device and two, battery-powered.
Explaining the science behind the product and its effectiveness, Mr. Pankaj Sharma, Founding Advisor, Log 9 Materials says, “Once a specific intensity of UVC light is exposed to Covid-19 virus, it penetrates the virus shell, reaches its RNA strand, and thereafter makes a permanent alteration in its RNA structure, which renders the virus incapable of infecting or replicating inside any live cell. Our latest product CoronaOven has been designed based the previous scientific studies concluding how UVC light kills SARS COV-1 virus. Since SARS-CoV1 detected in year 2002 is the most closely related coronavirus when compared to COVID -19 causing SARS-CoV2 which shares around 70-80% of its genome with the former, it can be merited that UV-C is able to successfully inactivate/neutralize the effects of the Novel Coronavirus. Based on these scientific evidences and assessments, we came up with our new product made with UVC-safe materials, which not only ensures safe operations of the equipments inside the oven, but also ensures UV ray blockage so that outside personnel/users do not get adversely affected.”
A 2004 study by US FDA titled “Inactivation of the coronavirus that induces severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS-CoV” published in the Journal of Virological Methods had examined the efficiency of short wavelength UV light in rendering the SARS-CoV1 virus non-capable of replication and causing further infections. This study clearly demonstrates that controlled UVC light can permanently damage the RNA sequence of SARS-CoV1.
Another scientific paper published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene in 2015 evaluated the effects of UV radiation on four types of N95 respirator masks. The CDC scientists involved in this research tested particle penetration, flow resistance, and various other key factors with respect to the performance and structural integrity of N95 masks exposed to UV germicidal irradiation; the results of this study showed that UV exposure led to a small increase in particle penetration (up to 1.25%) at high UV dosage and had very little effect on the flow resistance of these masks. The UV Dose used in CoronaOven is 50-300 times lower than the estimated UV doses that may negatively impact the N95 mask polymers, and by using this oven once (for 10-12 minutes), at least 10 units such N-95 masks can be disinfected successfully.
Overall, CoronaOven is a risk-free, zero-chemical device deemed to have multi-level applications: in healthcare settings, in household or home settings, and for disinfecting delivery parcels on-the-go. In healthcare settings such as hospitals, CoronaOven can be used to quickly decontaminate/sterilize medical equipments like N95 masks, eye goggles, face shields, etc; this also enables reuse or multiple times usage of these masks and helps front-line workers like doctors and nurses to remain infection-free, even when there is a shortage/unavailability of masks and PPEs. On the other hand, at homes, grocery items, food items (including fruits and vegetables), water bottles, utensils, and various other home appliances and accessories having solid surfaces of plastic, metal, leather, fabric can be disinfected using the CoronaOven product.
According to a very recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the SARs-COV 2 virus can remain active and infectious on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for a period of up to 2-3 days, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and around 4 hours on copper-based surfaces. Treatment/sterilization cycles using UV-C light can prove to be extremely advantageous for reducing the spread of the virus in Stage 3 and Stage 4 situations of Covid-19, especially when demand for PPEs overrides supply and frequent surface-to-human transmission becomes a reason of serious concern. As India is currently knocking the doors of Stage 3 (community transmission) of the disease, Log 9’s indigenously developed CoronaOven enters the market as a boon, and in the upcoming days and months, it can go a long way in preventing and limiting the transmission of the deadly contagion.