“Everybody knows aggressive hand hygiene is of paramount importance to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The prevailing hand hygiene solutions, recommended by World Health Organization, include alcohol-based hand sanitizers (rubs) as well as soap and water,” said Amalnerkar.
He said there are concerns about the efficacy of hand-washing by soap and water (particularly in killing fatal viruses), while alcohol-based hand sanitizers suffer from drawbacks like flammability and reduced barrier function of the skin due to dryness after repeated washings.
“We have developed eco-friendly, fast acting anti- microbial hand-wash formulation based on a combination of potential anti-viral nano-metal compound mixed with aromatic medicinal herb. This formulation shows anti-bacterial, anti- fungal and potential anti-viral activity with a similar mode of action,” he said.
Chaudhari said the formulation does not show adverse effect on plans and fishes as confirmed by extensive toxicity investigations along with commercially available hand-wash, toilet and floor-cleaner samples.
“Our handwash formulation is water-based and the constituents are totally bio-compatible,” he added.
Amalnerkar said WHO, to contain spread of coronavirus, has recommended repeated use of 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite bleach for disinfecting community premises by spraying and mopping or wiping common touch surfaces.
“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 viruses and bacteria, it is harmful to mucous membranes and skin upon contact, Amalnerkar said.
He added that such disinfectants, however, cannot be used in case of edible items like raw vegetables, raw meat, raw seafood and fruits which are susceptible to contamination.
“But the efficacy of washing only with water remains highly uncertain in a pandemic situation like COVID-19, where there is a possibility of handling of such items by asymptomatic people,” he added.
Chaudhari saidtheir bio-compatible and non-ecotoxic disinfectant formulation is based on nano materials embedded in silk fibre.
“Anti-microbial activity and the non-ecotoxic nature of such water-based disinfectants have been established in the laboratory and such formulations can be safely used to clean edible items as well as toys of the children,” headded.
A team member, Dr Pramod Mane, said the disinfectant can be added with regular washing powder to clean clothes so as to provide extra anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action.