Researchers come up with eco-friendly and non-toxic handwash

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Friday, 22 May 2020

Wash your hands for 20 minutes and keep the virus at bay. Well, for the last couple of months we have been doing, hearing and spreading this.

Pune: Wash your hands for 20 minutes and keep the virus at bay. Well, for the last couple of months we have been doing, hearing and spreading this. Hygiene has gained paramount importance and the prevailing hand hygiene facilities recommended by WHO also include alcohol-based hand sanitisers (rubs) as well as soap and water.

While there are concerns about the efficacy of handwashing by soap and water(particularly in killing the fatal viruses), alcohol-based hand sanitisers suffer from drawbacks like flammability and reduced barrier function of the skin due to dryness after repeated washings.

But Shri Shiv Chhatrapati College, Junnar professor Ravindra Chaudhari and former Director-General of C-MET Dinesh Amalnekar joined hands and developed eco-friendly, fast-acting antimicrobial handwash.

The hand wash is based on a combination of potential anti-viral, Nanometal compound mixed with the aromatic medicinal herb. This disinfectant can also be added while washing clothes to make them anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

Provisional patent applications have been filed for both these inventions with the proactive support by Patent Attorney Mohan Dewan.

How’s the solution prepared?
While talking to Sakal Times, Amalneka said, “Our handwash formulation is water-based, and the constituents are totally biocompatible.

Chaudhari said that this formulation shows anti-bacterial, antifungal and potential anti-viral activity with a similar mode of action. According to Mane, the post-doctoral researcher in the team, such formulation does not show an adverse effect on plant and fishes as confirmed by extensive toxicity investigations along with commercially available handwash, toilet and floor-cleaner samples.

The community transmission control of super-contagious coronavirus and other deadly bacteria is the main challenge in combating COVID-19. For this purpose, WHO recommended repeated use of 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite bleach for disinfecting the community premises by directly spraying and by mopping/wiping the common touch surfaces in community settings. Use of 70 per cent alcohol is also suggested by WHO in certain situations. Although dilute sodium hypochlorite bleach solution is inexpensive and fast-acting against most of the viruses and bacteria, it is harmful to mucous membranes and skin upon contact, said Amalnerkar.

Can this be used to wash edible items?
Such disinfectant formulation, however, cannot be used in case of edible items like raw vegetables, raw meat, raw sea-foods and fruits which are more susceptible to contamination. Just washing with clean water remains the only alternative to avoid microbial contamination of the edible items. But the efficacy of washing only with water remains highly uncertain in the pandemic situation like COVID-19 where there is a possibility of handling of such items by asymptomatic handlers, especially in the context of the Indian scenario.

Using their nano-bioscience expertise, the same team members have also developed bio-compatible and non-ecotoxic disinfectant formulations based on nanomaterials embedded in silk-fibre.

Chaudhari said that antimicrobial activity and the non-ecotoxic nature of such water-based disinfectants have been established in his laboratory and such formulation can be safely used to clean the edible items as well as toys of the children.

Mane mentioned that such disinfectant could be added with regular washing powder while washing the clothes to provide extra anti-bacterial/antifungal action.

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