Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world’s third-largest chemical company, said that it is helping India to fight Coronavirus pandemic by enabling domestic production of about 150,000 protective essentials and testing items per day. These include Covid-19 test kits, face shields, goggles, gloves, surgical masks and gowns.
The development comes at a time when India has surpassed China in terms of confirmed Covid-19 cases with over 86,000 coronavirus positive cases as of Saturday, becoming the 11th most infected country. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently said that it has set a target of carrying out around 100,000 tests across the country per day.
“Safety of people is extremely important in these times, and therefore through collaboration, we have been enabling our customers to produce medical essentials,” said Janardhanan Ramanujalu, vice president and regional head, South Asia, Australia & New Zealand, SABIC. “These products are used by medical frontline professionals as well as police, security and people at large for precautions and treatment. SABIC takes pride in collaborating with all our stakeholders to help India fight Covid-19,” said Ramanujalu.
Last year in March Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, agreed to buy a 70 per cent stake in SABIC. Saudi Aramco was valued at $2 trillion in its initial public offering last December.
SABIC said it is producing the protective essentials through a deep understanding of customer needs, strong material know-how and ongoing research on applications. The company said it has been able to meet the material standards to ensure quality products made domestically for India.
In India, SABIC has been enabling the production of over 50,000 Covid-19 test kits a day by supplying healthcare grade material for making test kit cartridges. These materials must meet stringent medical requirements with properties to resist strong chemicals and to have high impact strength. It further requires high clarity to allow visibility of the chemical reactions inside the test kit. SABIC said its engineering thermoplastic resin was sent for necessary trials and was approved by the relevant authorities.
The company is also collaborating with customers across India to produce around 80,000 face shields and goggles per day. It is using thermoplastics sheets solutions that provide high impact strength, optical quality, scratch and chemical resistance and high flexibility for the cold curve. The firm said these properties made it possible for the material to be made into protective gears to help reduce exposure of medical staff to viruses and bacteria in the environment. The nonwovens made with the company's polypropylene (PP) products are also used extensively for making medical disposable gowns, masks and coveralls used in healthcare settings. The firm said these materials provide excellent breathability and deliver critical properties that support the safety of patients and medical staff.
In India, SABIC operates in six cities – Gurugram, Mumbai, Vadodara, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune. Through these centres, SABIC serves regional customers across industries such as automotive, packaging, building and construction and agriculture. In 2013, the company also set up the SABIC Technology Centre in Bengaluru (STC-B), which focuses on leveraging India’s research competencies.