The first consignment of a new Irish-manufactured decontamination wipe that can help prevent the spread of coronavirus has been delivered to the Defence Forces.
It has been developed to save the lives of first responders and emergency workers, whether they are in the military or civilians.
It can significantly reduce or prevent the transmission of a pathogen or virus.
The Anti-Bioagent Wipe (ABwipe) is the result of a five-year project involving members of the military's Ordnance Corps and Aquila Bioscience, a pioneering Irish biotechnology company which is based at NUI Galway. Ordnance Corps personnel have been taking an active part in designing the concept and in product trials.
"The concept for this technology was driven by the Defence Forces and an identified capability need in the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection measures," said Professor Lokesh Joshi, who is the co-founder and director of Aquila Bioscience, and is the vice-president for research and innovation at NUI Galway. He said that it has support from the European Defence Agency and the product was now ready for mass manufacture.
"It could be a valuable technology in the fight against the coronavirus.
"This unprecedented situation requires unprecedented measures.
"And the Defence Forces have committed to the purchase of a consignment of the ABwipes for troop protection measures," he added.
Prof Joshi said that at a time of global urgency and the unknown impact on human lives and the economy because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ABwipes would serve as an essential tool in the arsenal against the virus to stem its spread and to save lives. Many existing decontamination solutions contain chemicals that can prove to be harmful to the skin, health of the user and to the environment.
But ABwipes do not contain harmful elements.
And they can be used on skin and on sensitive areas of the body, such as the eyes, nose and mouth.