The coronavirus crisis has triggered skyrocketing demand for hand sanitisers across the globe, so much so that the entire world is reeling under their shortage.
To contribute to the fight against the global pandemic, Milind Choudhari, Prasad Bhagat and Anupama Engineer, co-founders at healthcare startup Weinnovate Biosolutions decided to look for alternatives of alcohol-based sanitisers that are commonly used today.
"The idea was to focus on a product for disinfecting hands and environmental surfaces because studies have shown that the prime method of transmission of coronavirus is through contact with the infected person and surfaces," says its co-founder Milind Choudhari.
He adds, the biggest drawback of alcohol-based sanitisers is that they are highly inflammable making their production, transportation and storage a risky affair. Secondly, alcohol dehydrates the skin, making it prone to secondary infections.
The four-year-old firm has come up with a proprietary technology NanoAgCide (patent pending), which is based on Colloidal Silver solution (essentially a liquid with tiny silver particles) that is gentle on the skin and doesn't require any special arrangement for storage.
Plus, unlike popular perception, colloidal silver is cheaper than alcohol.
One of its key benefits is that the solution releases the silver nanoparticles on the surface in a slow and sustained manner which ensures its effectiveness for a longer duration.
The firm has filed the patent for the process of making colloidal silver. Lab testing has already been done and the manufacturers have received a test licence for making hand sanitisers and disinfectants using this technology.
"We are aiming to manufacture a minimum of 200 litres of colloidal silver solution per day to cater to the demand of hand sanitisation and disinfection," says Milind Choudhari, co-founder, Weinnovate Biosolutions.
He adds, "With our solution, we are positive to reduce the infection spread and help India be infection-free,"
"Nanoparticles are rapidly emerging as effective solutions to a variety of issues related to COVID-19, from theranostics (therapy plus diagnostics) to disinfection to imaging. The relevance of nanoparticles is owing to their size (less than 100 nm), which is comparable to that of COVID-19 virus, and a plethora of functionalities such as targeting and drug delivery that can be tailored," said Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology.
Silver nanoparticles have shown to be an effective antiviral which can act against many deadly viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B, Herpes simplex virus, Influenza virus, and so on. Recent reports have suggested the role of Glutathione capped-Ag2S NCs (Silver nanoclusters) in inhibiting the spread of coronavirus.
Supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Weinnovate has received Rs 2.2 crore till now in grants and equity.
The firm is currently doing price discovery and has priced the product at Rs 100-150 for 100 ml bottle. The price for alcohol-based sanitiser is regulated by the government under essential goods at Rs 100 for 200 ml.
Led by a team of scientists, Pune-based Weinnovate Biosolutions specialises in solutions for difficult-to-heal wounds and antimicrobial susceptibility profiling.
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