Published: 23rd September 2020
How Muse Nanobots' antiviral fabric will protect you from the Coronavirus
Gautam and his team began working on the fabric in March this year after the pandemic hit. They developed a prototype by May
With the advent of COVID, sanitisation of surfaces, apart from our hands, has become the new normal. Various santisers are sold in the market claiming to remove the virus from any surface. But there hasn't been anything for fabric, yet. But IIT Madras alum Gautam Reddy's start-up Muse Nanobots has now solved the problem. They have developed a nanotechnology-enabled antiviral fabric that can be used to make masks, clothing, textiles or anything else that uses fabric.
Explaining how the fabric works against viruses, including the dreaded Coronavirus, Gautam, the CEO of Muse Nanobots, says, "The nanotech coating on the fabric is able to attract the virus and inactivate it. It pulls apart the membrane of the virus, releasing the RNA and rendering it incapable of causing damage." Gautam says that while masks prevent the virus from entering through the face or nose, it doesn't inactivate it. "If someone touches the outside of the mask, the virus can spread further," he adds.
We are currently discussing with industry leaders so that the technology is used in various sectors while also scaling up production
Gautam Reddy, CEO, Muse Nanobots
But more than masks, Gautam hopes that this new technology will be more useful in hospitals where COVID patients are being admitted for treatment. "Bedsheets and pillow covers with this fabric will be very useful as the virus from an infected person can easily be inactivated when they come in contact with the fabric. It can also be used to coat PPE kits for added protection. Hospitals are filled with textiles and these are all potential places from where the virus can spread," Gautam says. He also says that it can also be used similarly in hotels and restaurants, which have now opened up across the country. "It immediately creates safer touchpoints for the next customer with all the linen and bedding being virus-free," says the 29-year-old, who graduated with Chemical Engineering from IIT Madras and then went to ISB, Hyderabad for his MBA.
Muse Nanobots is the subsidiary of Muse Wearables, a start-up that is incubated at IIT Madras
Gautam and his team began working on the fabric in March this year after the pandemic hit. They developed a prototype by May and got an industrial-scale machine in July. "Any fabric manufacturer can now send us their fabric. After coating it with the nanotechnology, we will send it back to them for garment production," says Gautam, who claims that all kinds of fabric can be given an antiviral coating using their machine. One sector that Gautam is keen to explore is education. "If students have antiviral school uniforms when they head back to school, it will become like an added layer of protection. It is one of the primary sectors we are looking at," says Gautam.
The eight-member team at Muse Nanobots is also experimenting with how to integrate their technology on hard surfaces like tables, desks, chairs and so on. "We are currently discussing with industry leaders so that the technology is used in various sectors while also scaling up production from our end," Gautam says.