As India unlocks after the COVID-19 lockdown, masks, disinfection, and sanitation are the new normal outdoors. But what happens indoors, in safe spaces like homes, offices, and schools?
Research by Harvard, CDC, and Oxford has shown that viruses can last on masks, cash, phones, clothes, and packages for three days, making them potential carriers. But ultraviolent light can help in the fight against COVID-19, with studies showing that short exposure to UVC light can destroy the nucleic acid in viruses and bacteria, terminating them.
New Delhi-based TRU-V is among the companies using UV light to help people disinfect daily use items such as groceries, masks and gloves, ecommerce packages, and electronics among others.
TRU-V was launched by Aditya Jindal and Milind Bansia, graduates of Delhi College of Engineering (DCE; now known as DTU), in May this year. The duo, with the help of Parv Rustogi, their friend from DCE, developed a low-cost, lightweight, and portable UV disinfection bag to fight the COVID-19 crisis.
“After facing challenges personally for disinfecting daily use products, we realised that most UV-based disinfecting chambers in the market were expensive…they were generally priced at around Rs 10,000,” Milind says.
“We then came up with UV-based disinfection bags that would be safe and would work in the same manner as existing products, but would be affordable and easily expandable to Tier II and III cities,” he tells YourStory.
Fighting COVID-19 with UVCare
How does UV-C technology (light in the 200-280nm wavelength UV-C spectrum) work to disinfect surfaces it comes in contact with? The UV-C wavelength interacts with the RNA and DNA of cells and microbes and disintegrates them, which is why it is germicidal unlike UV-A and UV-B waves.
According to the founders, the Made-in-India UV disinfection bags – UVCare Pro and UVCare X are portable and weigh around 700 grams. The product has been tested and received three certifications - i) Received certification from a BIS empanelled lab for no UV leakage; ii) ICMR and NaBL empanelled lab approved the product to be effective against Covid-19/SARS-Cov2 in 10 min and 3) It also received European Conformity certification for quality.
The bags have been designed to provide 360-degree sanitisation and ensure that objects are disinfected from all sides. They are made with water-repellant, high-grade polyester fabric with Teflon coating.
“The inner layer is made of specialised reflective non-woven lining, which enhances UV reflectivity and ensures its reach to all corners of the bag. The viewing peephole uses thick UV blocking clear material, which ensures safe viewing with zero exposure to UV radiation. The middle lining of expanded polyethylene provides stability and thermal insulation to the bag,” Aditya says.
Daily use items such as groceries, ecommerce packages, electronics, masks and gloves can be easily disinfected within 10 minutes, but Aditya warns that products containing liquids should not be put inside the bag as it can damage the inner material.
While UV-C lamp-based disinfection boxes are not new, the founders highlighted that their vision for TRU-V was to provide safe and efficient disinfection services within an affordable range.
“We wanted to create a product that could reach everyone, including people from rural regions of the country. Users can purchase UVCare Pro for Rs 2,599 and UVCare X for 2,499,” Aditya says.
Users can purchase the product from the company’s official website and ecommerce portals such as Amazon and Flipkart. The product is also available for offline purchase through distributors. Currently, 2,000 units have been sold across India till date.
According to Milind, the product is being marketed online via SEO through blogs, Facebook and Instagram content, bloggers, influencers, Google, and more. Offline distributors are also equipped with posters for the products. The startup is also building a YouTube channel for the same.
A similar innovation has been developed by Bengaluru-headquartered nanotechnology startup Log 9 Materials Pvt Ltd, which has developed a microwave oven-sized product, CoronaOven, to disinfect objects such as ecommerce packages, grocery items, milk packets, wallets, electronic gadgets, masks, and gloves, among others. It disinfects these items within 10 minutes via UV-C light.
Delhi-based Green Grapes Devices has also developed a UV Sterilisation Box to help people disinfect small-sized daily use objects such as cell phones, keys, watches, rings, and masks.
Speaking about plans post COVID-19, Aditya says while UV-C-based disinfection technology became popular in India amid the coronavirus pandemic, the technology has been commonly used in the US for disinfection of baby products such as diapers, bottles, toys etc. Its products can also be deployed at clinics and hospitals for disinfecting objects.
“Coronavirus has definitely increased the demand for UV-based disinfection solutions. Post-coronavirus, the demand may fall, but the market will remain. We may look at disinfecting baby products and deployment at clinics and hospitals later,” Aditya says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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