Published: 24th March 2020
Battling COVID-19: IIT Roorkee students create over 1K bottles of herbal sanitiser to distribute free on campus
The herbal hand sanitiser is made of 80 per cent isopropanol/ethanol and comprises of antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory herbal ingredients
In an endeavour to minimise the transmission risk of COVID-19 and promote basic hygiene, two students of IIT Roorkee came up with the idea of preparing more than 150 litres (almost 1500 bottles) of a herbal hand sanitiser. The hand sanitiser was distributed free of cost on campus recently under the aegis of Heal-agnostics Innovations Pvt Ltd, a start-up incubated at TIDES, IIT Roorkee with support of the administration.
"Amid the outbreak, we have already seen that hand sanitisers typically sold in the markets are already out of stock with people mostly panic buying things. There's been an evident shortage. We were also forced to buy at certain points but then we saw that the quality is not good. So, we thought we will make them ourselves and at least we will provide them for free first to our IIT-Roorkee community. We have so many teachers, non-teachcing staff, students who are in need of these. That's how we began creating these herbal sanitisers a week ago," said Dr Indranil Lahiri, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, who was among those spearheading this initiative.
The two students who first came up with the idea — Siddharth Sharma, a research scholar of Centre of Nanotechnology and Vaibhav Jain, a research scholar of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering — with time roped in more students and faculty to make it possible. "In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to maintain basic hygiene practices since there is no specific treatment or vaccine for the disease. This IIT Roorkee-incubated product will be useful to the entire community by promoting basic hygiene," added Siddharth.
The herbal hand sanitiser is made of 80 per cent isopropanol/ethanol and comprises of antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory herbal ingredients and it also works as an excellent moisturiser. The product has been developed in line with recommendations of the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr Lahiri said, "We have already distributed 1500 bottles, after which our Dean said that we should keep doing this but for that we need some re-filling stations on campus. We are working on installing those currently, so maybe in a day or two we will be able to put up at least two or three such stations."
Some of the students without whom this initiative wouldn't have been possible include Satish Jaiswal, Kanike Rajesh, Anshu Dubey, Souvik Ghosh, Nitam Kumar, Vishal Panwar, added Dr Lahiri. The professor's 10-year-old son Dibyanshu Lahiri, who was enthusiastic about his contributions towards a social cause, also came and joined the students in making the sanitisers.
The IIT Roorkee incubated start-up is also planning to get a patent for this product later on as there is a specific manufacturing cost that the institute is bearing now. "After this pandemic is over and everything settles, we wish to apply for the patent under the start-up and also maybe for a medical license as well," concludes Dr Lahiri.