Aussie family's Covid-killing invention

Ash Cant
·4-min read

A couple from NSW’s Southern Highlands have created one of the two disinfectant products available in Australia that are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and can kill Covid-19 on surfaces.

Virosol was created by Sophie and Steve Westlake. The commercial-grade disinfectant can be used on all surfaces and is proven to kill Covid-19 along with 99 per cent of germs.

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, the Westlakes explained they assumed a big manufacturer would come up with a product which would kill traces of the virus, when nothing came on the market, they decided to create their own.

Mrs Westlake explained it was when she and her family were passing the cake to her elderly mother through a window in March, she and her husband decided on coming up with a formula themselves.

Sophie Westlake (left) and her husband Steve decided to make their own disinfectant which kills Covid-19
Sophie and Steve Westlake created Virosol, one of two approved disinfectant products in Australia that kills Covid-19. Source: Supplied

The couple own several businesses, including one which does building inspections, though Mrs Westlake does have a science background.

At the start of the pandemic, the couple were looking for something to use for the inspections, but found there was nothing available.

“In March and even by mid March, we weren't really quite sure what what could happen, we didn't have a full understanding of what the virus really was,” Mrs Westlake told Yahoo News Australia.

“So we took precautions.”

Mr Westlake, who has an autoimmune disease, said he would wear a mask and gloves and even a biohazard suit to some sites, until the lockdown prevented them from working.

Satisfying the appetite for Australian made and owned products

Not only is Virosol approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the spray and the bottle is Australian made and owned.

“There is a very strong, and deliberate appetite for Australian made products,” Mrs Westlake said.

“And I don't think there's anything special about us,” Mr Westlake said.

“I just think we had a good idea and we pushed really hard – we call it ‘rolling the dice’.”

Together, the couple explored their options on how to formulate a product which could be used on all surfaces and kill Covid-19 to add another line of defence.

“We set about wanting a product that we could spray on anything and it wouldn't cause damage,” Mr Westlake explained.

“So we went about ruling out high volatile chemicals and alcohol-based chemicals.”

The active ingredient in Virosol is Benzalkonium chloride (BAC), which the Westlakes explain has been used for decades across multiple industries.

With no harsh chemicals, Virosol is safe to use on hard surfaces around the home or business.

Virosol here to stay as cleaning has evolved

The idea of Virosol was conceived during the lockdown, fortunately, the family of six is quite entrepreneurial.

About two years ago, the Westlakes challenged their children to come up with their own lip balm, the activity then led their eldest daughter, Rosie, to take an interest in branding.

When the family was discussing their disinfectant, it was Rosie who came up with the name and she helped design the label.

“It was very much a family affair,” Mrs Westlake said.

Though the selling point for Virosol is the fact that it kills Covid-19, the Westlakes are confident it has longevity, as hopefully, our cleaning habits have evolved.

Sophie Westlake, the co-owner and creator of Virosol has a science background and the product is formulated with no harsh chemicals
Virosol was formulated without harsh chemicals and the Westlakes are hoping the product will remain popular even after the pandemic. Source: Supplied

“I think also people are starting to have a much better understanding of community responsibility which perhaps was a little lacking earlier in the year before this happened,” Mrs Westlake said.

“If I go into a grocery store and I don't use the hand sanitiser, I have to now think ‘oh, well that could negatively impact my neighbours, my friends, other people shopping here’ and I think that mentality has shifted.”

Mr Westlake agrees the world has changed amid the pandemic, in some ways, for the better.

“Originally I thought it was a negative, I think there's some positives from it going forward, because it will limit the other contagions that we come into contact with,” he said.

Virosol launched in August this year and the Westlakes said there has been interest around the product not just in Australia but also overseas and they are grateful people are loving their product.

Of course, Mrs Westlake says the disinfectant should only be used as an additional line of defence, and should not replace things such as physical distancing or washing hands.

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