Amid shortage, IIT-Hyderabad researchers create a sanitiser to fight coronavirus

By: Education Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: March 19, 2020 11:09:59 am

IIT-Hyderabad’s director BS Murthy using the hand sanitiser at his office

As cities across India face a shortage of sanitisers and disinfectants due to hoarding and panic, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad have developed their own hand-sanitiser. The institute claims the product is in line with standards recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a federal health agency in the US.

The IIT researchers will make the hand-sanitiser available for the use of staff and students in the institute as well as the neighbouring community. Around 10 litres of this hand-sanitiser have already been deployed in the campus, informed the institute. The researchers, both women, said the effort is aimed at managing the current health crisis and there is no intention to commercialise the product.

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Co-creator Shivakalyani Adepu, a research scholar at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering at IIT Hyderabad commented, “This was done purely to support the community, at a time when it is critical to adopt safe and hygienic practices. We have not thought of commercialisation. Our motto is to help people around us. We can assure that these are as safe as any commercial sanitiser and possibly more effective.”

The second researcher Mudrika Khandelwal, associate professor, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering remarked, “This is our small contribution in testing times. I am glad we can make this happen and hope to make similar contributions in the future.”

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“The composition of this hand sanitiser is 70 per cent isopropanol with glycerol, polypropylene glycol to increase the viscosity and reduce the volatility so it stays on the skin to allow action. It also contains lemongrass oil for antimicrobial activity and therapeutic aroma. The 70 per cent IPA solution penetrates the cell wall, coagulates all proteins, therefore killing the microorganism,” the institute informed in a written statement.

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers kill most bacteria and fungi, while stopping some viruses that are present on hands within 30 seconds of application. If 70 per cent of alcohol is poured to a single-celled organism, the diluted alcohol also coagulates the protein, but at a slower rate, so that it penetrates all the way through the cell before coagulation can block it. Then the entire cell is coagulated, putting an end to the organism, stated the institute.

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