- 24 Apr 2020
- 4 min read
Why in News
Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has approved the use of antiviral nano-coatings on anti-Covid-19 masks.
- These coatings have been approved for Triple Layer Medical masks and N-95 respirator, as a part of the Mission on Nano Science and Technology (MNST or commonly known as Nano Mission).
- The antiviral nano-coating has been developed using N9 blue silver which will be modified to form nanocomplexes with Zinc (Zn, atomic number-30) compounds to achieve a synergistic effect. Subsequently, it will be applied as coatings on facemasks and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs).
- Nano-coatings have 99.99% effectiveness and these can work on multiple levels at the same time like antiviral, bacterial and fungal and self-cleaning.
- These can be applied to various surfaces such as glass, metal, stone, textiles and plastics by spraying or dipping.
- N9 blue nanosilver is a highly potent antimicrobial agent and has been developed at SMITA Research Lab, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.
- Silver (Ag, atomic number-47) is known to have strong antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses and fungus.
- In experiments, strains of bacteria and viruses have shown either resistance or sensitivity when exposed to silver which confirms silver resistance and toxicity in them.
- After the evaluation of shelf life of the coatings and their efficacy under different conditions such as temperature, humidity and time, the masks and PPEs will be prepared and provided to the medical workers for field trials.
- The use of highly effective antimicrobial nanoparticles on masks, PPEs, etc is a useful application providing an extra layer of protection for the high risk settings, such as for the medical workers.
Mission on Nano Science and Technology
- It was launched by the Government of India in May 2007 as an "umbrella capacity-building programme" to build upon the promotional activities in the highly promising and competitive area of Nano Science and Technology.
- The DST is the nodal agency for its implementation.
- Basic research promotion.
- Infrastructure development.
- Nano applications and technology development.
- Human Resource development.
- International collaborations.
- Due to its efforts, India is amongst the top five nations in the world in terms of scientific publications in nano science and technology.
- In 2014, recognizing its success, the Union Cabinet accorded approval for continuation of the Nano Mission in its Phase-II during the 12th Plan period (2012-17) with an allocation of ₹650 crore.
- The Nano Mission has resulted in useful products like nano hydrogel based eye drops, pesticide removal technology for drinking water, water filters for arsenic and fluoride removal, nanosilver based antimicrobial textile coating, etc.
- It has orchestrated national dialogues to promote R&D in development of standards for nanotechnology and for laying down a National Regulatory Framework Road-Map for Nanotechnology (NRFR-Nanotech).