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Bodoland varsity assisting govt in fight against COVID-19
Sivasish Thakur
 GUWAHATI, May 23 - The Dept of Biotechnology (Govt of India)-sponsored Technology Incubation Centre, Bodoland University, Kokrajhar, has assisted the government authorities and the common masses in their resistance to the Covid-19 contagion through large-scale production of low-cost face masks, hand sanitizers, portable sterilization kits, etc.

The interventions came particularly handy for the frontline soldiers including medical staff, cleaners, police, army, etc., during the initial phase of the lockdown which witnessed a paucity of such materials.

In addition, it came up with a holistic solution to do away with the lockdown-induced constraints afflicting local agro producers and consumers and facilitating online door-to-door delivery of products to consumers.

“We identified major agro producing villages such as Bhowraguri, Maktaigaon, Basbari, Khantalguri Joima, Salakati, Bandarchara and Nayarchora. The farmers were constrained to dispose of their mature produce while on the other hand, people were finding it very hard to arrange for fresh and hygienic vegetables at reasonable prices. Our provides door-to-door delivery of fresh vegetables after pooling the produce of the rural farmers. The citizens can place the order of the perishable products online with cash-on-delivery basis,” Prof Sandeep Das, Head of the Dept of Biotechnology, Bodoland University, told The Assam Tribune.

The service model is popularly known as F2C (farmer to consumer) model.

Prof Das said that the department as part of its efforts to combat the contagion collaborated with the Kokrajhar district administration and police.

“The unprecedented situation triggered a huge demand for masks, sanitizers and PPEs. From the common man to those at the forefront of the Covid-19 battle, masks and sanitizers were an urgent need. Our laboratory initiated the production of low-cost membrane face mask, hand sanitizers, portable two-in-one physical-cum-chemical sterilization boxes, webpage for online shopping and LED/LASER-assisted unmanned sanitization tunnel,” he added.

Around 1,400 handmade face masks have been made and distributed while about 900 litres of hand sanitizers (5,350 bottles of different volumes) have been distributed.

“We have made a two-in-one sanitization box, with 20 more under progress as is one LED/LASER-assisted unmanned sanitization tunnel,” he added.

The hand sanitizers developed by the varsity are in two formulations – one based exclusively on WHO directive while the other based on WHO directive and supplemented with herbal components.

In yet another innovation, the varsity has developed Cordycep capsules from a super mushroom well known for its immune-modulating effect, anti-aging, anti-viral as well as energy booster effect.

“These virtues are experimentally well established. The Cordycep mushroom variety is very expensive at Rs. 8 lakh per kg dry weight but our Technology Incubation Centre has been cultivating this mushroom in laboratory conditions since 2017 and is a pioneer in the field,” he said. Prof Das added that during the ongoing crisis, their team had been able to provide Cordycep powder for the frontline soldiers staffs. “It is also being distributed free among civilians and its capsulation process is in progress,” he said.

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