Biotech startup Biomoneta is using decontamination tech to prevent spread of coronavirus

Bengaluru-based biotech startup Biomoneta’s air decontamination technology deviceZeBox traps and kills microbes that can cause diseases. The co-founders aim to deploy the apparatus at hospitals to quell the spread of coronavirus.

COVID-19 is similar to influenza when it comes to disease presentation. Both cause respiratory disease, which presents as a wide range of illness from asymptomatic or mild through to severe disease and death.

According to the World Health Organisation, the reproductive number – the number of secondary infections generated from one infected individual – is “between 2 and 2.5 for COVID-19 virus, higher than for influenza”.

The fact that the disease is transmitted by contact, droplets, and fomites necessitates hygiene and cleanliness etiquettes so that people stay safe from infection.

With the number of coronavirus cases in India crossing 35,000, many organisations are going beyond developing treatment options. Bengaluru-based Biomoneta Research is one of them.

Biomoneta Research Co-founders Arindam Ghatak and Janani Venkataraman

Founded in 2014 by Arindam Ghatak and Janani Venkataraman, Biomoneta Research has created patent-pending air decontamination technology that traps and kills microbes that cause disease and product contamination.

Spun out of antibiotics discovery startup Bugworks, the biotech startup aims to use its flagship product ZeBox to ensure there’s “no room for germs” anywhere.

In April, Biomoneta was nominated by Bengaluru-based incubator Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) as a deployment-ready COVID-19 innovation.

How does it work?

Speaking to YourStory, Arindam says, “Infection prevention is a neglected area in India. We created the ZeBox technology, which pulls in microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, from any environment and infected surfaces.”

Arindam claims ZeBox can currently kill about a billion microbes in 30 minutes. The device’s lysing mechanism disintegrates cells, killing a large number of microbes.

According to Arindam, the plug-and-play B2B device was developed to keep hospitals, especially ICUs, free of infection.

He explains that ZeBox is a very low maintenance device. Only a small component in the device needs to be replaced after every 2.5 years. Apart from this, the device works without human intervention.

The device needs to run 24x7 to keep the surroundings and surfaces decontaminated.

Ready for deployment

Supported by BIRAC, Biomoneta has now completed its clinical trials at Baptist and St. John’s Hospital in Bengaluru

Arindam says a COVID-19 patient is already immunocompromised and can be susceptible to several nosocomial infections. Apart from this, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are also at risk of contracting coronavirus from their patients.

The co-founders say deploying the device will help in decontaminating the atmosphere and surfaces

Variants of the device are available, depending upon the size of the area that needs to be decontaminated. Arindam says the product is currently available from a starting range of Rs 40,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Biomoneta is keen to immediately cater to most Indian hospitals.

“India struggles with the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) programme, and this technology can be used directly to solve an absolutely unmet need. We are also looking to launch for the global market in another year,” Arindam says.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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