With masks helping to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) has developed a wash-resistant antiviral and antibacterial coating for textiles. IIT-B has filed two patents regarding this technology.
Known as the Duraprot technology, the coating crosslinks antibacterial and antiviral components on to the textile’s fibres through a simple dipping process. The coating is retained after several wash cycles and has been tested for 20 wash cycles — a prerequisite as per textile guidelines — at the IIT-B laboratory.
“There has been an urgent need for personal protective equipment including two- and three-ply masks, N95 masks and gowns for healthcare workers. One approach is to enhance the functionality of two and three-ply masks with antibacterial and antiviral properties, “ said Rinti Banerjee, the Madhuri Sinha chair professor at IIT-B’s department of biosciences and bioengineering. “The coating materials are low cost and the idea is develop and scale up masks with antiviral activities at an affordable cost,” Banerjee said.
Originally, Banerjee and her team had developed the antibacterial coating for medical textiles such as hospital gowns, bedsheets and consumer products (like socks and underclothes). The efficacy of the coating has been tested against samples of the Sars-Cov-2 virus in the laboratory. “When we tested the Duraprot coating against coronavirus samples from Kasturba hospital, there was a breakdown of the envelope inactivating the coronavirus,” said Banerjee.
At present Duraprot technology is licensed to Meemansa, a Mumbai-based textile and garment manufacturing company. “We have sent the fabric with coating for validation to an external testing agency. We are expecting the results mid-next week after which we will begin the process of coating the masks that we have already manufactured,” said Priyanka Bapna, founder of Meemansa. “The process of coating masks takes two days followed by drying them naturally right now since our factories are closed. Once the lockdown lifts, we will dip the entire fabric in the mixture before manufacturing the products,” she said.
Banerjee said talks are also on with two to three other textile manufacturers. “We are maintaining non-exclusive licensing due to the scale of the epidemic and will transfer our technology to multiple textile manufacturers. We will teach them how to prepare the coating mixture, and walk them through the process,” said Banerjee.