When Covid-19 first tipped our lives into turmoil last year, Southern Highlands mum Sophie Westlake knew she had to act fast to win her own private battle against the deadly pandemic.
Her husband Steve, 53, has Myasthenia Gravis, a rare illness similar to Multiple Sclerosis that has left him with a compromised immune system for life. In the space of 12 months the 53-year-old was in hospital nine times with a serious infection.
Despairing that there wasn’t a cleaning product to help defend her husband from the coronavirus, Sophie swung into action and used her science background to create one herself.
“I just started to research what could kill and envelope the virus and then started to find out about the process here in Australia to get the product tested and then approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” says Sophie.
It took Sophie about six months of working around the clock with an international laborator to ensure Virosol+ killed Covid-19 and 99.9% of germs.
“They follow a very vigorous TGA protocol of testing. They use a ‘surrogate’ for Covid to test on it, and over a period of months it was proven that our product killed Covid.
“Covid isn’t going to go away, and the fact that we have this product made available, it can be used not just now for killing Covid but in the future as another line of defence against germs.”
Sophie says the business spin-offs – Virosol sold more than 8000 bottles in the first six hours after it went to market – has been an unexpected bonus with her invention.
Steve’s health is always uppermost on her mind.
“Most doctors don’t understand the condition,” she says. “One day he collapsed and stopped breathing and there was a visiting doctor who was familiar with the condition. He ran some tests and he was diagnosed.
“He’s just got to manage his physicality, and obviously he’s prone to infections a lot more than everybody else, so we took the pandemic very seriously.”