Heavy Water Board to supply heavy water in India for non-nuclear use


India’s Heavy Water Board (HWD) plans to supply heavy water to Indian companies to produce deuterated compounds within the country, said a top official.

A deuterated compound is one in which the ordinary isotope of hydrogen has been replaced with deuterium.

“Presently deuterated compounds are imported in the country. We intend to make heavy water available for the Indian companies to produce them indigenously at much lower costs,” HWB Chairman and Chief Executive U. Kamachi Mudali told IANS.

“We have already entered into an MoU with a few Indian companies for collaborative development of deuterated compounds through non-nuclear applications of heavy water,” he added.

According to him, few products like Acetone-d6, Acetonitrile-d3, Benzene-d6 and others have been commercially launched by HWB through Board of Research in Isotope Technology (BRIT) for the benefit of Indian industry and society at large.

Heavy water, a compound of hydrogen’s deuterium isotope and oxygen, is used as a coolant or moderator in pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR).

“Deuterium Depleted Water of 25 to 120 ppm (parts per million) has applications in anti-cancer, anti-ageing, anti-diabetic, nonspecific immune defence of the body. DDW is already being prescribed abroad, and to some extent in India, as a rejuvenation supplement to the chemotherapy patients,” Mudali said.

“We are actively engaged with Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research & Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Mumbai, to establish the anti-cancer potential treatment of Deuterium Depleted Water,” he added.

According to Mudali, there is a good potential of medical applications of heavy water in the field of deuterated active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and drugs, and HWB felt it prudent to collaborate with Indian drug manufacturers and various pharma associations.

He said through a collaborative project with Entero Virus Research Centre, Mumbai, HWB has established thermo-stabilisation of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) using heavy water as a medium.

“The study revealed that OPV if prepared in heavy water maintains the required potency for seven day even at 37 celsius and about two days at 42 celsius. This could be taken up for further development after getting the regulatory clearances,” Mudali said.

Deuterium and deuterium labelled compounds have potential applications in life sciences for increasing the stability of organic molecules, macromolecules, viruses and vaccines.

Deuterated glucose is critical in determining protein structure and protein-drug interactions. Potential drugs are also targeted for HIV (human immunodeficiency viruses), kidney disease, non-psychiatric central nervous system disorders, cancer and other diseases, Mudali said.

The HWB has marched in the direction of producing oxygen18 enriched water required in PET scanning for cancer detection.

Deuterium gas is used in high-end technologies like manufacture of optical fibre and electronic industries, Mudali said.

“Last fiscal year about Rs 60 lakh worth of heavy water has been supplied to academic and research institutions for their research work,” he added.