Deployment in West Bengal Begins

New Delhi: The COVID-19 outbreak in India has left 19 dead and currently there are 909 confirmed cases, including 47 foreign nationals, according to the Health and Family Welfare Ministry. India went into complete lockdown at midnight on 24 March and will remain so until 14 April in order to break the infection cycle of the disease.

A medical cure for the deadly viral infection, which has left a trail of deaths across countries and affected tens of thousands, still remains a distant reality. But alumni from two premier institutes in India - the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) in West Bengal and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi - have developed a device called "Airlens Minus Corona" which could deactivate the life of the coronavirus using charged or ionised water droplets.

"Airlens Minus Corona is basically an electrostatic water spray (EWS) technology. We induce charge on water droplets which in turn kill viruses by oxidation reaction. This technology has been recently developed seeing the emergency situation", Dr Shashi Ranjan, who specialises in biomedical sciences with nanotechnology and studied at institutes like the AIIMS and US-based Stanford University, told Sputnik. Ranjan along with Debayan Sahah are co-founders of PerSapien Innovation, the company responsible for the Airlens Minus Corona device. 

​According to Ranjan, the formative technology on which the new device is based is called "Minus 2.5" and was first developed to kill pollution particles in the air. The "Minus 2.5" technology was tested in labs certified by the Delhi-based National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB).

"We are already working with the West Bengal government for deployment of the sanitising device in the states. The technology has also been recognised by the New Delhi-based Technology Development Board (TDB) under the federal Ministry of Science and Technology. The federal government is now seeking proposals to use the device for large scale sanitisation/sterilisation", Ranjan added.

The device, which is being manufactured in Kolkata city's Electro Plaza Project, could be used to sterilise hospitals, bus stops, railway stations, shopping malls, and other public places.

​Earlier, the science behind EWS was proven to be killing microbes by Professor Philip Demokritou from Harvard University.

In Vietnam, a similar procedure was developed to sanitise people working around COVID-19.

Vietnam's National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, along with the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, developed a two-chambered device, where one sprayed electrolysed water as droplets and the other directed heat and ozone onto the body of the person being sanitised.

The pandemic coronavirus, with its 14-days life cycle, has affected over 597,000 people globally and resulted in the death of over 27,000 patients since December 2019, real-time statistics platform Worldometer notes.