Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
As the demand for N-95 masks soars amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and his start-up 'ETEX' has developed an affordable alternative mask, 'Kawach'.
The mask is an initiative to ensure protection and bring N-95 type masks within the reach of the masses in India. Therefore, it is priced at Rs.45.
According to Professor Bipin Kumar, Textile and Fibre Department, IIT-Delhi, "The cost of N95 masks used for protection against COVID-19 in India is high, making it unaffordable for the masses. The 'Kawach' mask, developed by ETEX, is at par with N95 in terms of fitting and engineered filtration layer that could provide up to 98 per cent filtration efficiency up to 3-micron size particle. The price has been kept affordable so that it can reach the masses for enhanced protection"
The product is backed by the efforts of the IIT-Delhi. Presently, the start-up team is working to make a reusable mask which can be used up to 10 times.
The textile used in the manufacture of such masks offers reusability, biodegradability and affordability. The long-term environmental impact should not be disregarded on the face of a pandemic, he pointed out.
N95 masks are a type of 'Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)' that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, does not recommend the general public to wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus.
According to CDC, the N-95 masks are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, instead, the general masses should use a cloth to cover their faces, as per the current CDC guidance.
Moreover, the N-95 mask which is usually priced at Rs.150 is presently available in the market at a much higher rate than ranges up to RS.500 and above.
In such a situation, Professor Kumar is optimistic about lowering the price of this essential commodity with 'Kawach', so that it becomes accessible to the general masses. He is also gathering funds for the same.
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