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Disinfecting and reusing PPE, gloves, masks, gowns to fight Covid-19 possible with Vajra Kavach

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Vajra Kavach being launched by Pamela Satpathy, Commissioner of Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation, Govt. of Telangana in collaboration with ASCI (Administrative Staff College of India) at GWMC office in Warangal, Telangana (All pictures Courtesy PIB)

The two waves of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have made several health accessories a part of our daily life including masks, gloves, gowns, coats and personal protective equipment. They had to be discarded as their thorough disinfection was not possible but not so now, as Vajra Kavach is here to remove the viral particles from them.

Aptly named Vajra Kavach, this disinfection system has been developed by Mumbai-based start-up Indra Water. It removes any possible traces of the disease-causing SARS-Cov-2 virus from personal protective equipment, N95 masks, coats, gloves and gowns.

Making the equipment very useful is its feature of effecting the disinfection in just a few minutes

Also read: IIT-backed startup rolls out disinfection system for reusing N95 masks and PPE kits

What is important is that Vajra Kavach renders reuse of PPEs and other materials used by healthcare workers possible. Thus besides protecting them, it also takes care of the environment, by reducing the burden of biomedical waste.

From an economic point of view, it saves resources and also makes personal protective equipment abundantly available, affordable, and accessible.

The equipment is being manufactured at Indra Water’s factory at Bhiwandi in Mumbai, from where it is delivered to hospitals.

Elaborating on the features of the Vajra Kavach, Abhijit VVR, a cofounder of Indra Water said: “Our system is able to achieve a 1,00,000-fold reduction in the number of microorganisms; in scientific terms, tests showed that we got 5 log (99.999%) reduction of viruses and bacteria.”

Log reduction means is a term used to signify the relative number of living microbes that are eliminated after a process such as disinfection.

The Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay did the testing and validation of the Vajra Kavach by placing full loads of virus and bacteria samples on PPE and other gears and disinfecting them inside the equipment. Thereafter, the gear was checked again.

The system used a multistage disinfection process, informed Abhijit. The process included advanced oxidation, corona discharge and UV-C light spectrum to inactivate the viruses, bacteria, and other microbial strains present on the PPE, achieving more than 99.999% efficiency.

The genesis of Vajra Kavach

“The idea of Vajra Kavach was conceived during the nation-wide lockdown in March 2020. We began to think about what exactly we could do to help the country fight the pandemic. We realized there was a huge demand for PPE Kits and N95 masks and the nation was struggling to provide our healthcare workers with the necessary medical requirements. That is when we came up with an idea – a simple disinfection process that enables our Corona Warriors to reuse their masks and PPEs,” disclosed Abhijit.”

From drawing board to the work table

Armed with the concept, Indra Water team modified its water purification technology and came up with the totally indigenous disinfection system. Reflecting self-reliance, Abhijit said: “Every component used in the manufacturing of this disinfection system is made in India. Nothing is procured from outside.”

Useful for Healthcare Workers

Talking about the system, Dr. Nisha Shah, Chief Medical Officer, IIT Bombay said: “Vajra Kavach’s UV disinfection of PPE is elegant, user friendly and convenient. The system is adequate for our 25-bed Covid Care Center. It will help us use fewer PPEs.”

It has been installed in Mumbai’s Cama Hospital, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital, St. George Hospital among other hospitals in Mumbai. “Around 10 Vajra Kavach systems have already been installed in various hospitals in Mumbai. After talking to a lot of health care workers, we came to know that the system is being used by them to disinfect not only N95 masks and PPE kits, but also lab coats, masks, aprons, face shields, stationery material in the ICU, basic medical equipment, gears and other medical cloth materials as well,” said Abhijit.

A second version of Vajra Kavach, which is compact and more user-friendly is on the way.

A 20-member start-up, Indra Water was set up with the Department of Science & Technology’s NIDHI-PRAYAS grant (through Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, IIT Bombay) for coming up with innovations in the water sector.  Its core area is treatment and disinfection of wastewater discharged from apartments, industry, factories, etc. The firm can be contacted at contact@indrawater.com.

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