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Coronavirus pandemic | DRDO builds contactless UVC sanitiser for currency notes, cellphones, laptops

The deadly novel coronavirus, which has been wreaking havoc across the world, can easily be killed with this machine since it has just one layer of protein

May 11, 2020 / 01:10 PM IST

In a development that could help in India’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a contact-less sanitizer that can be used to disinfect currency notes, laptops, cell phones, etc.

The Hyderabad-based Research Centre Imarat (RCI) -- a premiere laboratory under the DRDO – developed the UVC sanitation cabinet that has been named Defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitiser or DRUVS.

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The machine will help disinfect items such as cheques, iPads, envelopes, receipts, and paper, apart from the aforementioned items that are otherwise difficult to sanitise. Narayana Murthy, Director, RCI, confirmed that the deadly novel coronavirus, which has been wreaking havoc across the world, can easily be killed with this machine since it has just one layer of protein.

As per an India Today report, the device was built by a team of researchers including senior scientist Gopinath and his colleague Sourav Kumar. They built it in less than 15 days and after conducting validation tests, two of the machines were sent to the Virology laboratory in Hyderabad, where it was virtually inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The researchers who built the unit have informed that a company called Vijay Machine Tools, located in Hyderabad’s Shantinagar has started manufacturing the device. It is reportedly available in three variants, with the top model costing around Rs 55,000. The team is now working on ways to reduce the cost of this machine to make it more affordable.

The DRUVS cabinet, which is a contactless sanitiser, has switches with proximity sensors and a drawer that opens and closes with the help of an inbuilt mechanism, making its operation contactless and automatic. When an object is placed inside the machine, it gets 360-degree exposure to UVC, which kills germs. What is better is that the machine slips into sleep mode once the sanitisation process is over, so the operator need not have to monitor it.

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