Kharagpur: IIT Kharagpur incubated start-up has developed P3 layered surgical face masks. Anigiene Technical Textiles, led by a group of researchers at the Institute’s Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Park, has developed the product keeping in mind the affordability by India’s low income groups as well as the quality requirement by those working in the healthcare sector.
The company has completed the field testing using local volunteers with encouraging feedback. The target for a full commercial production is expected to be one lakh units per month and to be priced at ₹ 10.
“We have kept in mind typically the needs of the people who are economically challenged while strictly avoiding any compromise on the part of health protection. Our product also caters to the health workers,” said Satyabrata Ghosh, research associate at the Department of Biotechnology at IIT Kharagpur and director of Anigiene Technical Textiles.
Recently WHO has confirmed that eliminating COVID-19 pandemic would be a long haul. Thus with the health mandate to wear facial masks, it is expected that over the next several months its demand would remain exceptionally high. Professor Virendra Kumar Tewari, director, IIT Kharagpur has been emphasising on the role of technical institutions like IIT Kharagpur in addressing the health and hygiene, and other technological needs to combat COVID-19.
“Addressing basic needs of the public and making them available at affordable prices is critical. Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Park at IIT Kharagpur is catering to this need by incubating and facilitating start-ups. I congratulate the researchers who have come forward with this product and contributed to keeping the country safe,” said Tewari.
The startup is conducting end-to-end business operations at the facility allotted to them at STEP, the incubation hub of IIT Kharagpur. The infrastructure support is from faculty mentors at IIT Kharagpur and Focus Incubation Centre sponsored by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, located in STEP IIT Kharagpur.
“We are conducting further experiments on using natural fibres such as fruit peels for fully biodegradable masks,” said Ghosh.