Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, inventor and CEO of Parasat Cable TV, recently handed over to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) his innovation to help medical frontliners conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the fight against COVID-19.
Called Parazap, his innovation is a portable Ultraviolet room disinfection unit that is electrically operated. The device is designed to disinfect PPEs specifically N95 masks, killing almost 99% of microorganisms by means of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It consists of two sets of UV-C germicidal lamps having 15 and 18-wattage and can accommodate up to10 N95 masks in one cycle. The UV-C chamber can also be adjusted according to duration of exposure – from 60seconds to 60 minutes depending on the prescribed length of exposure to kill a certain type of microorganism. All of the materials in making the equipment were locally available.
In a conversation with the DOST personnel during his visit, Engr. Paras said that if the project becomes successful the device will be available for reproduction since the materials are readily available and the cost of production is not that expensive. If ever the increase of COVID-19 casesin Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao continues, the Parazap would be of great help to protect medical frontliners with guaranteed supply.
In partnership with Engr. Paras, the DOST through its Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories (RSTL) and COVID-19 Response Disinfection Team will assess and evaluate the efficiency of the equipment through testing of N95 masks for growth of available microorganism stock cultures before and after treatment in the UV-C chamber.
The laboratory will use an established test method to evaluate the capacity of the device to kill Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that will be purposely swabbed to the masks. The masks will then undergo different duration of exposures, having one (1), two (2), three (3), five (5) and 10-minute cycles. After each different cycle the masks will be swabbed to detect the presence of the incorporated E. coli bacteria. This will take three (3) days to accomplish desired results. Absence of the incorporated microorganism after exposure to the UV-C chamber would mean that the device is effective. Despite the availability of established methods, the laboratory has conducted further research to maximize the use and evaluation of the device.
This local innovation initiative is an example of patriotism that gives hope not only to the heroes in the frontline but to all residents of Northern Mindanao. It shows that everyone is able to contribute in overcoming the health crisis, whatever sector we belong in society. It acknowledges the significant role of the government in supporting its constituents in every way possibleand this has encouraged DOST to do more than what is expected of them. (Alloena Marie O. Neri, DOST-X)