University of Brighton scientists have returned to their labs to make hand sanitizer in “the interests of scientific citizenship”.
They spent a day making more than 20 litres of a handrub formulation recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and said: “As long as we have the resources and the reagents, we can come in and do it again, as required”. Professor Hal Sosabowski, the University’s Professor of Public Understanding of Science, said: “Hand sanitizer is in short supply so we decided to help by filling that gap in the supply chain as best we can. Many frontline NHS staff may struggle to get enough supplies in the middle of this tragedy and that is why we want help even though we know that this is probably a drop in an ocean.” He and colleagues including Dr Angela MacAdam and Dr Matt Ingram in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, first researched production methods from the WHO before the team left their homes. Then it was back to the lab wearing lab coats and safety glasses. They were assisted by Professor Bhavik Patel who advised remotely.
Professor Sosabowski said: “The School have modern, up-to-date labs with the resources, solvents and chemicals required to do such a thing and with the help of our colleagues in (the University’s) Estates Department we were able to gain entry (to the labs), even though we are in lockdown.”
Professor Sosabowski, who has also collected up university eye shields to distribute to GP surgeries, said it was the obvious decision to go back to the labs: “The whole thing about my colleagues is that they’re modest and just want to come in and contribute albeit in this modest way.”
Colleagues, he said, didn’t hesitate: “The ability to contribute something that is tangible has been a relief to all four of us.
“The santizer will be sent to wherever it is needed the most and we have all agreed, we’ll make more if the need arises.”