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Herbal decongestant spray for masks to prevent suffocation

Health authorities have been strongly advocating the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, wearing a mask for a long time is reportedly causing difficulties in breathing and congestion in the respiratory system.

To address this issue, scientists at CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, have developed an herbal decongestant spray.

The main reasons behind this problem include the accumulation of carbon dioxide and humidity in the inner cavity of the mask. When a person breathes in, this goes back to the lungs again. Repetition of this process over some time causes discomfort in breathing and congestion, Dr Sharad Srivastava, Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-NBRI said. He led the team of researchers for this study.

He explained that the herbal decongestant spray is a fine blend of four plant-based oils, but the names of these plants cannot be disclosed right now because of issues related to intellectual property. This product is developed based on the principles of Ayurveda.

According to a press release, the formulation helps to clear the windpipes and congestion by removing the mucus, leading to easy breathing. It also reduces stress due to excessive use of mask and decongestion. This spray has been prepared as per the guidelines of the Ministry of AYUSH.

The Lucknow-based NBRI is a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is mainly known for its botanical research work. The initial results of this NBRI’s herbal spray have been extremely impressive. People wearing masks for a long time are getting a lot of relief from this, say researchers.

The Institute plans to transfer the technology of this inhaler for commercial production so that it can be produced on a large scale and sent to the frontline worriers fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of Nano Mission programme, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has approved support for the upscaling of antiviral nano-coatings as material for producing anti-COVID-19 triple-layer medical masks and N-95 respirator in large quantities.

The technology was developed by a research team at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

Silver is known to have strong antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses and fungus. Researchers have developed N9 blue nanosilver at the SMITA Research Lab, IIT Delhi, under the nano mission project.

Nanoclean Global will provide face masks and PPE materials for the application of nanocoating and will help in the design and fabrication of samples at their facilities.

DST has initiated and nurtured nanoscience activities in the country in the last two decades producing quality human resources, infrastructure, and knowledge in this globally competitive area.

According to a press release, today, India stands 3rd globally in the number of scientific publications in nanosciences. The use of highly effective antimicrobial nanoparticles on PPEs and masks is a useful application that will provide an extra layer of protection for the high-risk settings, such as for the medical workers.

The team proposes to evaluate the antiviral properties of this compound against COVID-19.

The N9 blue nanosilver, which is a highly potent antimicrobial agent, will be further modified to form nanocomplexes with zinc compounds to achieve a synergistic effect. Subsequently, these nanomaterials will be applied as coatings on facemasks and other PPEs to improve their ability to protect the wearer from accidental contamination from COVID-19 virus droplets.

The researchers will evaluate the shelf life of the coatings and their efficacy with different storage conditions such as temperature, humidity, and time and prepare facemasks and PPEs and provide these for field trials.

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