Two Kenyan innovators have built a prototype steriliser, which can kill the SARS-COV 2 virus, which causes Covid-19 disease.
The discovery, if adopted, could greatly reduce transmission of the disease through coming in contact with contaminated surfaces.
The invention, which has undergone tests at Kenya Medical Research Institute’s (Kemri) molecular biology lab, could prove to be a game changer by killing the virus on frequently used items like cash and documents in just five minutes.
Phelix Juma and Dominic Gachuma collaboratively embarked on the creation of what they have christened Taa Surface Steriliser.
“This is a unique technique proven in other markets like China and USA as one of the best methods that could be used to sterilise Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our health workers and other equipment such as bank notes, documents, home appliances and beauty and hairdressing equipment through the use of ultraviolet radiation,” Gachuma says.
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Covid 19 Time Series
The Taa Surfcae Steriliser has gone through successful tests at the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Kemri headquarters in Nairobi as well as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) to ascertain its efficiency and suitability.
Testing of its efficiency was done at Kemri’s Molecular Biology lab, says a report by the agency issued on June 2.
“A total of 40 pairs of forceps were used to ascertain its efficacy,” Kemri’s report reads.
In the first experiment, 10 pairs of forceps were exposed to SARS-COV 2 confirmed specimens collected from the Infectious Disease Unit at Kenyatta National Hospital. The forceps were then sterilised with the Taa Surface Steriliser for five minutes, and tested for the SARS-COV 2 positive specimen.
In the second experiment, 10 pairs of forceps were contaminated with the same SARS-COV 2 positive specimens collected from the Infectious Disease Unit, sterilised by exposure to 10 per cent bleach for one hour and then swabbed and tested.
In a third experiment, 10 pairs of forceps were contaminated with the same SARS-COV 2 positive specimens and then swabbed and tested after one hour.
As a control, 10 pairs of forceps were exposed to double distilled water let to dry, swabbed and tested after one hour. All swabs were tested using the Abbott Realtime Polymerase Chain reaction for SARS-COV2.
The test results showed that the efficacy of the Taa Surface Steriliser was 100 per cent after five minutes of UV exposure.
“The health care workers, who conducted this study, found the product easy to use and clean,” Kemri report says.
The steriliser can be used in banks, mobile money agents, offices, hospitals, salons, supermarkets and at home.