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Delivering decontamination wipes #PurposePeoplePlace

Aquila Bioscience, a pioneering Irish company, based at NUI Galway has developed a novel decontamination wipe to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The company has started delivery of AntiBioAgent Decontamination Wipes (ABwipeTM) to frontline services in Ireland, including the Defence Forces, the HSE and An Post. ABwipeTM technology will serve as a safe and effective decontamination wipe for first-responders, healthcare workers and postal workers to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Aquila Bioscience and the Irish Defence Forces have been collaborating on this technology for over four years, with the Ordnance Corps actively engaged in the concept and product trials.

Aquila is a spin-out of NUI Galway, and the concept for this technology was driven by the Irish Defence Forces and an identified capability need in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) protection measures. ABD technology was developed by University researchers to safely and effectively decontaminate multiple bio-threat agents (including viruses), and its use will significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Aquila Bioscience’s ABwipeTM contains components that bind to and decontaminate the surface, taking advantage of the virus’s own attack mechanism (in this case, carbohydrates and proteins). Because ABwipeTM contains no harmful ingredients, it can also be used on skin and sensitive mucosal areas such as eyes, nose and mouth (main portal for virus infection). Most existing decontamination solutions contain chemicals that are harmful to the skin, health of the user and to the environment.

ABwipeTM technology was developed to safely and effectively decontaminate multiple bio-threat agents (including viruses), and its use will significantly reduce the spread of COVID19 and will help ensure that first responders and emergency workers are kept safe to allow them to react when called upon.

Professor Lokesh Joshi, the founder of Aquila Bioscience and Vice-President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway said: “It was the pioneering work done with the Defence Forces Ordnance Corps in countering biological pathogens that led to the development of the ABDs, and the hope is by now putting these in the hands of frontline workers, it will allow them to more effectively protect themselves and the people they’re helping in the fight against coronavirus.”

While there is significant demand for ABDs from other international armed forces and healthcare providers, Aquila is currently focused on supplying public service agencies in Ireland.

Professor Joshi added: “As we ramp up our production over the coming weeks we’ll be better able to supply some of the international agencies currently seeking our help in the struggle in their countries, and make this new technology part of the global fight against COVID-19.”

Aquila Bioscience Ltd

Aquila Bioscience are one of over 35 start-up companies based at NUI Galway. The company has a team of experts from a range of science disciplines, bridging Glycobiology, Immunology, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, providing the highest quality of services and products to its customers

Professor Lokesh Joshi (pictured) is the founder of Aquila Bioscience and Vice-President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway

Professor Joshi joined the University in 2007 as a Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Professor of Glycoscience before taking over as Vice-President for Research and Innovation in 2013 and is the Director of the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster, an SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster.