Abhijit VVR, one of the co-founders of Indra Water, a Mumbai-based start-up firm, elucidates about Vajra Kavach– government-approved eco-friendly disinfectant, which makes N95 Masks, PPE, medical gear reusable thereby decreasing the cost for hospitals and reducing excessive COVID 19 bio-medical waste generation.
Why should one be cautious about SARS CoV 2 virus? Can you give us examples of its exposure time? How scientifically a disinfectant helps the frontline workers?
World Health Organisation (WHO) defined modes of transmission for SARS CoV 2 virus include direct and indirect contact, droplets, airborne, etc. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognised that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is airborne and can be transmitted via respiratory fluids, which are fine droplets released during respiration. These droplets can settle on N-95 masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), lab coats, and medical equipment used by frontline workers operating in the COVID-19 wards of hospitals who are in direct contact with COVID patients have a very high risk of transmitting it to others. By ensuring regular disinfection and following sterilization guidelines we can contain the spread of the virus.
How is Vajra Kavach — disinfection system is a unique product or different from the other products which are available in the country? How is it helping in combating the pandemic?
The system employs a multistage disinfection process consisting of 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 percent efficiency. The system removes any possible traces of the disease-causing SARS-Cov-2 virus from PPE, N95 masks, coats, gloves and gowns. It thus enables the reuse of PPEs and other materials used by healthcare workers. It thus protects not only them but our environment too, by helping reduce biomedical waste generation. It is also making PPE kits more available, affordable, and accessible.
As a disinfectant product, what evaluation methods does Vajra Kavach comply with? As a country do we follow any standards for a disinfectant product if yes, explain? If no what are the standards you have followed, adapted, or considered and used for testing?
The system has been validated and tested by the Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering at IIT Bombay and has been found to achieve more than 5 LOG (99.999 percent) inactivation of viruses and bacteria. It is also CSIR – NEERI approved and IP55 certified. Professors Ambarish Kunwar & Kiran Kodabagil of IIT Bombay had supported us with the testing and required standards necessary for such disinfection systems. We have developed this product with support from Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH), an initiative by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and SINE, IIT Bombay.
How economical is your product and how it helps in reducing bio-medical waste? Give us some data?
The system is very economical for hospitals. Generally N95 Masks, PPE are being discarded only after one-time use, generating a lot of bio-medical waste which is seriously impacting the environment. Hospitals have to bear the cost of new N95 Masks/PPE and hazardous biomedical waste disposal every day. Using disinfection systems like Vajra Kavach makes N95 Masks, PPE, medical gear reusable thereby decreasing the cost for hospitals and reducing excessive COVID 19 bio-medical waste generation. For example, a 25-bed hospital biomedical waste reduction is 450 kg per month.
How many hospitals have installed this product, what are the differences this product has brought in?
Around 10 Vajra Kavach systems have already been installed in various hospitals and bio-labs across Maharashtra and Telangana. After talking to a lot of healthcare 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.
Doctor Nisha Shah, Chief Medical Officer, IIT Bombay Hospital who has used Vajra Kavach’s UV disinfection of PPE informed that it is elegant, user-friendly and convenient. It is adequate for their 25-bed Covid Care Center. It has helped them to use fewer PPEs, Mumbai’s Cama Hospital, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital, St. George Hospital, Bio-Riidl are some other hospitals/labs in Mumbai where the Vajra Kavach disinfection system has been installed.
How effective is this product in reducing Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI), post-pandemic how it can be used?
The product is very effective in reducing HAI by ensuring the complete inactivation of viruses and bacteria on medical and non-medical gear used at hospitals. The clothing of patients can also be disinfected with the system thereby reducing the risk of secondary infection. It is very important for hospitals to improve preparedness by upgrading their safety standards, infrastructure, following the disinfection and sterilization guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.