A team of technical staff at the University of Hertfordshire has produced a batch of hand sanitiser to bolster NHS and social care supplies. The sanitiser has been donated to the Hertfordshire County Council team coordinating the COVID-19 response effort and will be used to help keep key workers safe during the pandemic.
The idea to produce hand sanitiser was developed after the University’s Director of Health, Safety and Sustainability saw a news item on a small gin distillery’s production of hand sanitiser and asked the technical team if they had the capabilities to do the same. Using the formulation published on the WHO website, they began work on an initial batch for internal use. The team has now donated 35 litres to Hertfordshire County Council and plans to make further donations.
Hertfordshire County Council’s COVID-19 response team asked for donations to help prepare for an expected increase in COVID-19 patients. Last week, the University donated health and medical supplies, including an NHS standard ventilator and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies.
Strict laboratory practices were followed in producing the hand sanitiser and the expertise of technical staff and the University of Hertfordshire’s UH’s Biodeterioration Centre were utilised to ensure safe delivery. Trading Standards were reassured by the rigorous process the team had applied. Strict COVID-19 social distancing control measures were also put into place to ensure the work was carried out safely.
There were challenges in sourcing supplies. A call out for bottles to contain the formula was answered by Promise Promo and Britvic who have donated over 700 between them, with more promised.
The team is now working on a further 35 litre batch to help meet demand from Hertfordshire County Council.
Dr Richard Southern, Dean of School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, commented: “This is an example of an outstanding team effort in responding to a call to action and using our technical expertise for the greater good. I know that the product will help ensure vital NHS and social care staff are able to continue to work safely. I’m extremely proud of my team and their efforts.”
Jim McManus, Director of Public Health, Public Health Service at Hertfordshire County Council commented: “The University have excelled themselves by going from concept to safe manufacture in a matter of days. This sanitiser is already in the hands of front line NHS and social care workers, protecting them and those they care for from infection. This incredible achievement shows the University is committed to defeating this pandemic as any of us.”