As stage 3 and 4 of the pandemic loom large, this UV-C light based decontaminating chamber prepares to help through widespread deployment.
As we continue to live in times where we must remain vigilant of every movement we make, bringing home objects from outside the house has become a stressful process. Washing each grocery item, spraying disinfectant, nothing can fully allay the fear of an infection.
CoronaOven, a product built by Bengaluru-based nanotechnology startup Log 9 Materials, is trying to provide peace from that nagging fear. The science-backed design of CoronaOven ensures 100% surface coverage delivering 360-degree UV-C light, which means that every point on an object surface placed inside the it will be decontaminated. This can kill the virus in less than 10 min on all types of surfaces.
The Tech Panda spoke to Akshay Singhal, Founder and CEO of Log 9 Materials, about the potential of this innovative product in containing the virus in the near future.
The product has the potential to be advantageous for containing the spread of the virus in Stage 3 and Stage 4 situations of Covid-19, especially when demand for PPEs overrides supply and widespread surface-to-human transmission emerges as a matter of concern
“The product has the potential to be advantageous for containing the spread of the virus in Stage 3 and Stage 4 situations of Covid-19, especially when demand for PPEs overrides supply and widespread surface-to-human transmission emerges as a matter of concern,” he says.
Having said that, prevention is always better than cure.
“No matter what the stage of the spread we are in, CoronaOven always does its job of killing the virus (and other pathogens) from object surfaces with 100% accuracy and precision. Given the fact that the Covid-19 situation has worsened progressively in our country in the past few months, a scientific and reliable system like CoronaOven can at least help the masses to avoid contracting the virus through surface contact,” he adds.
Already in Public Use
While it is true that the device has been specifically engineered taking into consideration the cell structure of the ‘Corona Family of Viruses’, the product is equally useful in killing almost all types of other pathogens known to humans.
To validate this, Log 9 recently partnered with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-approved Dr. Dang’s Path Lab, Delhi, to test the efficacy of CoronaOven on different microorganisms (a series of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, drug-resistant fungi, etc.) that are usually difficult to eradicate from surfaces; the study concluded that the product shows 100% anti-microbicidal activity (ability to kill microorganisms) against these microorganisms, within irradiation exposure of 10 minutes.
With support from the government, it is already live on the GEMS gov. procurement portal, and has already made more than 3,500 deliveries across India. The device is available for public use.
The product is now available around the globe. Log 9 Materials has delivered to countries like France, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore, Canada, Middle East.
It´s being used by hospitals like Trustwell, Narayan Hrudalaya, and Amrita in Bengaluru, as well as, AIIMS in Delhi. Government places like the Niti Aayog, Bengaluru´s Kempegowda International Airport, and even French President Emmanuel Macron’s residence, are using it.
It´s available in different sizes like 20Litre, 33Litre, 40Litre 440Litre variants, POS Sanitizer. 40L takes less than 4 minutes to sanitize.
The Science of CoronaOven
The Oven makes use of UV-C light (wavelength of 253.7 nm) in combination with significant design parameters to disinfect surfaces from germs.
The CoronaOven sanitization chamber system has been scientifically verified in terms of UV intensity at the laboratories of IISC Bengaluru. Log 9 and IISC will be working together to carry out further research and optimization for the existing ‘CoronaOven’-branded products and also launching a number of new variants for the same product.
Since the RNA structure of the Novel Coronavirus is almost the same as the SARS CoV-1, we figured out that this technology could be a game-changer in the current scenario
The device is based on the existing scientific principle of UV-Germicidal Irradiation (a technique used to kill germs by applying precise UV rays). Log 9 combined this principle with a previously done US FDA study that demonstrated how UVC light can kill the SARS CoV-1 virus.
“Since the RNA structure of the Novel Coronavirus is almost the same as the SARS CoV-1, we figured out that this technology could be a game-changer in the current scenario. Thus, soon after successfully conducting our internal experiments and simulations, we fast-tracked the process of manufacturing as well as commercialization of the product and launched it in the market,” Singhal explains.
Easy to Use as a Normal Kitchen Microwave
CoronaOven is almost as easy to use as a normal kitchen microwave. The user places objects to be disinfected inside the box, turns it on for 2-10 minutes by using the pre- programmed safety switch, and the UV disinfection cycle starts thereafter.
“The UVC light fuses the RNA of the Virus and hence the virus cannot replicate or infect humans,” says Singhal.
The UVC light fuses the RNA of the Virus and hence the virus cannot replicate or infect humans
The product has the ability to work on multiple surfaces such as plastic, paper, metal, leather, etc., making it a versatile, chemical-free disinfection system. In home settings, the chamber can be used to sanitize household items and eatables such as vegetables and fruits, kitchen utensils, water bottles, keys, toys, clothes, TV remote, smartphones, etc., whereas in healthcare settings (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) it can disinfect N95 masks, protective gear, and various medical equipment.
It has been certified for appropriate UV-C light intensity and safety from the ICMR-empanelled Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Central Scientific Instruments Organization’s (CSIR-CSIO) laboratory.
Origin and Launch
Log 9 developed CoronaOven within two weeks of Covid-19’s serious threat in India. It is cost-effective and suitable for mass deployment. Singhal recalls the fear and concern that prompted the invention of CoronaOven.
“During late February and the early weeks of March this year, i.e. the time around which the Coronavirus outbreak started infecting a large number of people in our country, we at Log 9 were able to foresee the seriousness of the contagion and its implications in the near future. Back then, our co-founders Pankaj Sharma and Akshay Singhal, like many other well-informed citizens of the country, were really scared about buying groceries, eatables, etc. from outside,” the young CEO reminisces.
While all that kind of fear and panic was going on, we as a science and technology start-up decided to step up and do our bit for the nation and society by coming up with an innovative solution to battle the pandemic
Any item entering a house from the neighbourhood shops or markets held the risk for infection. As we remember, this fear was fortified by scientific studies that suggested the virus can live for upto 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces, upto 24 hours on cardboard, making surface-to-human transmission a serious concern.
“While all that kind of fear and panic was going on, we as a science and technology start-up decided to step up and do our bit for the nation and society by coming up with an innovative solution to battle the pandemic,” he says.
Log 9 Materials Origins
The inception of Log 9 Materials happened while Singhal was doing his Bachelors at IIT-Roorkee. While doing his research in nanotechnology, graphene caught his eye as the next big thing for the nanotech and material science domain.
With the financial support of his parents, he established Log 9 Materials as a Graphene nanotechnology R&D company, researching and working on developing innovative products for the immediate applications and betterment of mankind.
Soon the startup received funding of INR 15 lakhs from IIT-Roorkee’s Incubation Centre, and Singhal also met Co-founder, Kartik Hajela at IIT-Roorkee.
“The journey of Log 9 over the years has been full of ups and downs. But for me, personally and professionally, the journey has been quite gratifying. From starting in the backyard of my house with just an idea and vision, we went on to raise successive rounds of seed, Pre-Series A and Series-A funding through 2017, 2018 and ’19, expanding our team and internal capabilities, and developing an array of amazing products leveraging the power of Graphene and nanotechnology,” he says proudly.
For the foreseeable future, eco-friendly energy storage solutions will be the focus and area of innovation for the startup.
“Right now, we are focussed on optimizing our energy storage technologies around Aluminum Fuel Cells and start field trials next year,” he informs