Amid coronavirus outbreak, BHU-IIT students build mask worth Rs 10 to batle COVID-19

Lucknow: While India is struggling with the shortage of masks including the N95 type apart from inflated price and entry of fake masks in the market amid the global

Covid-19 pandemic, Varanasi students have come up with an indigenously prepared mask which doesn’t only offer protection from virus but is cost-effective as well.

The students from the Sch­ool of Biochemical Engineering, IIT, BHU, Varanasi have used a non-woven biopolymer as the base and then sprayed a hydrophobic material which acts as a barrier to many viruses including novel corona and repels hydrophilic organisms as well.

“The pore size of our masks is 100 nano-metres which prevents novel corona and all other organisms above the 100 nm size to enter the masks.

The cost of this mask could be around Rs10,” said Dr Pradeep Srivastava, the Head of the School of Biochemical Engineering under whose leadership the research students — Diwakar Singh, Bhishma Narayan Singh, Satyavrat Tripathi and Aditya Anand — prepared the masks.

As per researches, the novel corona has a diameter of approximately 60–140 nm.The IIT claims its masks block even smaller organisms and dust particles including novel corona.

The lab, known for its work on skin and bone grafts, has tied-up with a Varanasi-bas­ed manufacture-Paradigm Innomed for large-scale production of this mask to fill the demand and supply gap.

Dr Srivastava told FPJ, “We are going for large-scale production soon. Besides, we wish to make these masks available through dispensers, like the ones which dispense paper and other napkins at airport washrooms.

This will help people to put Rs10 and get a mask.”This innovation is significant considering the fact Covid-19 has more than 3.75 lakh people across the world causing more than 16,300 deaths. In India, over 562 persons have been infected and 11 have lost life by Wednesday and the government has locked down entire country for three weeks to prevent the spread of the disease.

The team has started working on this mask a month ago anticipating the need in India as the Covid-19 was already creating havoc in other countries then. “We have had seen cycle of so many viruses in the past ranging from SARS, Ebola and MERS among others and shortage of masks during the crisis time. Hence we decided to make the mask ourselves,” Dr Srivastava.

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