Developing hand sanitiser to coronavirus testing kit, here’s what IITs and other institutes are doing

By: Education Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: March 25, 2020 5:30:56 pm

IITs are spearheading research to fight corona virus in India. (Representational image)

As coronavirus grips India, doctors have been fighting to lessen the impact of the pandemic. Researchers too, are giving their best to the fight. A few researchers from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), across campuses, have come together to create supplies, sanitisers, testing kits and are providing them free of cost to the public.

Researchers from IIT-Delhi have devised a new method of testing coronavirus which claims to drastically bring down the cost per test kit, which is currently pegged at around Rs 4,500. This will also solve the problem of not many kits being available, as these would be developed indigenously. The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune is in the process of validating this test on clinical samples.

The research team includes — PhD scholars Prashant Pradhan, Ashutosh Pandey and Praveen Tripathi, post-doctoral fellows Drs Parul Gupta and Akhilesh Mishra and professors Vivekanandan Perumal, Manoj B. Menon, James Gomes and Bishwajit Kundu.

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A team of researchers from IIT-Guwahati have been working to develop a vaccine for coronavirus along with a testing kit. The team is led by associate professor Sachin Kumar from the viral immunology lab under the department of Biotechnology unit of excellence of the institute.

To find a solution for the diseases, researchers are exploring possibilities to “clone the immunogenic proteins of SARS-CoV-2 to be used as diagnostics and possible vaccine candidates,” informed the institute.

Students from IIT Kharagpur have created videos in 12 regional Indian languages to ensure awareness. Students have so far created videos in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. The efforts of the 20-member group have been lauded by Minister of State for Human Resource Development Sanjay Dhotre in a social media post.

Meanwhile, to prevent more cases from coming up, several IITs have developed hand sanitisers and are making these available inside campus as well as for the community, for free.

The first to start the movement were two female researchers from IIT-Hyderabad – Shivakalyani Adepu and Mudrika Khandelwal. The duo said that it was their “small contribution in testing times” and they would not commercialise the sanitiser.

hand sanitizer, how hand sanitizer works, iit hyderabad, best hand sanitizer for coronavirus, corona news india, education news Shivakalyani Adepu, co-researcher, preparing the hand sanizter at a laboratory in IIT Hyderabad (Representational image)

Two researchers — Siddharth Sharma and Vaibhav Jain — from IIT Roorkee prepared more than 150 litres of a herbal hand sanitiser which also acts as a moisturiser. The product will be distributed free of cost at the IIT-Roorkee campus.

The latest to join the bandwagon is IIT-Kharagpur. Recently, the first death was observed from Kolkata due to coronavirus. Researchers from IIT Kharagpur have developed two different alcohol-based hand sanitisers. The team includes research scholars Atul Kumar Ojha, Ayan Gope, Anurup Mukhopadhyay, Lopamudra Das, Akashlina Basu. The other team led by Prof Mihir Sarangi of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has developed a hand sanitiser based on 70 per cent ethanol and 30 per cent aloe vera gel, the institute informed.

Meanwhile, IIT-Bombay has opened the gates of its four hostels to allow authorities to use them as quarantine wards. Telangana’s Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Gautam Buddha University, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, several JNVs have agreed to extend their vacant rooms to be used for the purpose. The authorities have approached several others.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: Are smokers at high risk form coronavirus? | Can Vitamin-C prevent or cure coronavirus infection? | What exactly is community spread of coronavirus? | How long can the Covid-19 virus survive on a surface? | Amid the lockdown, what is allowed, what is prohibited?

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