Bangalore-based teenager Nikhil Ramachandran (17) offers a ray of hope in the grim era when the coronavirus outbreak has taken more than 600,000 lives worldwide. Nikhil claims he has developed an anti-viral inorganic polymer — a complex chemical — that can kill the virus.
Conceptualised and developed at an estimated cost of Rs.4 lakh using nano-technology, the Novial polymer solution can be incorporated into air filters, disposable and nondisposable masks and other fabrics. “The polymer attacks multiple targets such as the spike proteins of the coronavirus that binds the virus to its host cell,” says this aspiring chemical engineer
The elder child of Dr. K.N. Ramachandran, director of Bangalore-based Crescent Polymers Pvt. Ltd, and homemaker Shalini, this class XII student of the top-ranked Canadian International School, Bangalore started researching this project last October. Initially to fight Delhi’s annual smog menace, but following outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, he switched to taking on the dreaded virus.
“Under the mentorship of our family friend Dr. Roy Varghese, professor of gastroenterology and infectious diseases at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Centre, Kentucky (USA), I developed the solution in my father’s chemicals factory and started sending samples to other labs and 15 chemical companies for testing. The final composition of the polymer was tested for anti-viral property in the first week of May at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. NIV has a good record of saving lives during the SARS and MER pandemics of 2002 and 2012. In the third week of May, NIV declared that the polymer has been found 99.99 percent effective under lab conditions,” reports Nikhil.
Encouraged and supported by his parents, Nikhil has promoted a proprietary firm under the name and style of Novic. “I hope to start production this month at a manufacturing unit in Dabaspet on the outskirts of Bangalore, so the product is available in the market next month. I have found distributors in India, New Zealand, Australia and Europe for my product which I am confident will save precious lives,” says Nikhil.
Wind in your sails!
Akhila Damodaran (Bangalore)
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