The University of Hertfordshire is making hand sanitiser for the NHS and care staff to address the current shortage.

The Hatfield-based university’s sanitiser has been donated to a team from Hertfordshire County Council, who are co-ordinating the COVID-19 response effort and will be used to help keep key workers safe during the pandemic.

After seeing a news item about a small gin distillery’s production of hand sanitiser, the university’s director of health, safety and sustainability Monica Kanwar asked the technical team if they had the capabilities to do the same. 

So they got to work, using the World Health Organisation formula, and made an initial batch for internal use. The team has now donated 35 litres to Hertfordshire County Council and plans to make further donations.

Dr Richard Southern, dean of school of life and medical sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “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.”

Jim McManus – director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council – added: “This sanitiser is already in the hands of frontline 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.”

Laboratory practices were followed and the expertise of technical staff and the Biodeterioration Centre were used, along with strict COVID-19 social distancing measures. 

There were some challenges in sourcing supplies but Promise Promo and Britvic have donated over 700 bottles between them, with more promised.

A further 35-litre batch is being made by the team to help meet Hertfordshire County Council’s need.

UoH, which is currently closed and has a nursing department, has already donated its personal protective equipment to HCC along with an NHS standard ventilator and associated equipment. This can help treat a critical COVID-19 patient in an ICU bed.