To help prevent spread of the coronavirus at public places in India, scientists at CSIO Chandigarh have invented UV ducts that can kill the virus in the air along with air sampling and viral load testing techniques that can check the viral load in the air.

The three inventions were placed before the Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan at CSIR-CSIO, on Sunday.

According to the scientists, the UV-C Air Duct Disinfection System -V1.06 is designed as a retrofit into existing air ducts. It consists a slide mechanism, regulated UV light source, and sensors. The device can be fit into ducts by minor modifications.

A diagram of the UC-V Air duct disinfectant system. (CSIO)

“The UV ducts system will be installed in the existing AC ducts and that is how it will disinfect the air. It can be used in shopping malls, movie halls and other public places where the system is centrally air conditioned. Virus and bacteria can be killed by applying controlled UVC light,” said a scientist at CSIO.

It was said that UV-C Light source emits light having high energy photons that kills virus, bacteria.

Meanwhile, the air sampler can check viral load in the air. “It is used for sampling air from large volume of space like hospitals, markets, schools, bus stands, railway stations where there is possibility of virus and bacterial infection. It may be used for sampling polluted air from high traffic zones in large cities, industries and air ducts also. The system is calibrated to flow air at specific rates through specially designed filter. Variable flow control has been provided to make the device more versatile in design and robust for various applications,” the scientists said.

The sampler works by sucking air at calibrated flow rates and entrapping particles, virus or bacteria inside the filter. The sampler is fitted with a gelatin tube where the virus is trapped. This can be used to check the presence of the virus, which can then be killed with use of ducts.

The scientist said that after knowing the presence of virus, the viral load testing equipment will tell the energy required to kill the virus.

The UV duct system has been installed at Anusandhan Bhawan in New Delhi, the scientists said.

Various other instruments and systems including electrostatic sanitization sprayers, contactless sanitizers, ultraviolet chambers, ventilators and foot operated taps etc developed by CSIR-CSIO were also displayed.

The Minister evinced keen interest in these developments and also switched to a transparent mask which doesn’t cause fogging on someone’s spectacles.


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