Scientists make hand sanitiser to support frontline professionals – The Open University

The Open University (OU) is supporting local efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by producing much-needed hand sanitiser for healthcare professionals in Milton Keynes.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been unprecedented demand for hand sanitiser from the public and across the healthcare landscape, which has caused a national shortage.

Scientists from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) faculty have been using their expertise and resources to respond to the shortage by producing hand sanitiser in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended Handrub Formulation.

Initially, Dr Michael Batham, Laboratory Manager at the OU, made a small batch of the hand sanitiser at home after his local supermarket ran out of stock, which prompted him to produce a larger quantity for the local health service.

Leading a team of three scientists, Dr Batham used isopropyl alcohol (propan-2-ol) also known as rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerol and sterile distilled water to make the cleansing gel.

Speaking on the university’s efforts to stem the hand sanitiser shortage, Dr Batham, said:

“The NHS will be under great pressure in the coming weeks and months, and local trusts will need help and resources to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“We have the capability, expertise and resources to produce hand sanitiser in our state-of-the-art laboratories on our Milton Keynes campus.

“It therefore is only natural that we should direct these resources to do what we can to support our local community.”

The team produced 60 x 500ml bottles of hand sanitiser for healthcare professionals at Milton Keynes University Hospital. OU researchers also donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to the local trust, including gloves, masks and full body overalls.

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