Mr Obeng Frimpong, (second from right) in a group photo with officials of UG
Management of indigenous transport firm, S.O Frimpong Transport Company (SOFT), has partnered the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Ghana (UG) to use chlorine disinfectant in the company’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chlorine kills pathogens such as bacteria and viruses by breaking the chemical bonds in their molecules.
Lab technicians preparing the chlorine solution
It compounds can exchange atoms with other compounds, such as enzymes in bacteria and other cells.
When enzymes come in contact with chlorine, one or more of the hydrogen atoms in the molecule are replaced. This causes the entire molecule to change shape and automatically die.
Chlorine solution is thus a remedy for disinfecting households, premises, vehicles, and enclosed spaces.
A Senior Technologist at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology at the School of Biological Sciences, UG, Nicholas Sowah who spoke at the unveiling of the innovation, said the partnership between the department and SOFT depicts a strong collaboration between academia and industry.
He said though chlorine is a well-known disinfectant, it has widely been underutilized for industrial use in Ghana.
“Companies tend to embrace the use of alcohol and ethanol for disinfection and sanitizing which is rather an expensive option, compared to the use of chlorine solution”, he explained.
For a company like SOFT, relying on the innovation of using chlorine disinfectant in the fight against the Covid-19 is the best decision, Mr Sowah noted, adding, “it’s cost-effectiveness for a company that have several fleets of vehicles to disinfect in this Covid-19 season.
Instructively, he said the Department prepared a three per cent (3%) chlorine into 1,500 litres of water to form a three per cent chlorine solution for the company.
“It is worth to state that the solution is environmentally friendly, not harmful to humans and animals. It was prepared through laboratory safety standards and procedures”, he indicated.
The solution which is stored in a secured poly tank is expected to last for more than six months, depending on the frequency of use. Without contamination, its efficacy to fight pathogens never reduces.
“In the poly tank, it would be fetched into spraying cans and used for disinfection purposes” Mr Sowah noted.
The collaboration according to the Biochemistry Department, is the first official partnership between it and an organization outside academia.
“We’ve been doing this for others but this is the first commercial entity we are preparing this solution for and we hope to have other companies on board to use this method in the fight against the coronavirus” Mr Sowah disclosed.
Chief Executive Officer of SOFT, Randolph Obeng Frimpong said the company’s fleet of busses, trailers, tankers and offices could be exposed to the Covid-19, hence, management’s decision to act promptly to introduce chlorine in the fight against the virus.
“Our busses at any given time load passengers to and from their various destinations, the drivers come in contact with various people and that poses a potential threat to all staff of our company.
We thought about the threats and we decided to partner with UG’s Department of Biochemistry to introduce this sustainable method of disinfecting our busses and premises as well. This partnership will go a long way to strengthen the partnership between academia and industry and we hope to have more fruitful collaborations with the University” Mr Obeng Frimpong noted.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri