Masking India, Saving the World - Life in Science with Pallava Bagla (E)

The world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, as yet there is no vaccine, no drug and the only durable way to prevent infection is the use of masks. Not many know the story of `Masking India, saving the world’. India took a lead in recommending the use of home-made masks, on March 30, 2020 the Office of the Principal Scientific Officer to the Government of India issued the first advisory on using home-made masks as a way to protect against the coronavirus. The person who spearheaded the movement is a pioneer scientist Dr Shailja Vaidya Gupta from the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisors Office. She was anguished by what she had seen in Asia’s largest slum Dharawi and wanted to find a simple home-made solution’. Also, we visit ‘Gulmeher’ a women’s co-operative of rehabilitated rag pickers who make low-cost masks for a living. Finally, we take a look at a start-up Nanosafe Solutions Private Limited, NOIDA incubated by Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi that made high-end masks that denature the virus using copper nano-particles. Masking India is truly an Atmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India story.