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Amidst shortage, institutes make their own hand sanitisers

The Indian Institutes of Technology at Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Ropar, Madras, MNIT Jalandhar, the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, St Xavier’s College, Jadavpur University, Lucknow University and Delhi Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research University are among those making their own sanitisers.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2020, 08.22 AM IST
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Huge shortage of hand sanitisers amid rising fears of Covid-19
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KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: In the face of a huge shortage of hand sanitisers amid rising fears of Covid-19 community transmission in India, a bunch of leading institutes have started producing their own hand sanitisers internally according to the World Health Organisation’s prescribed formula.

The Indian Institutes of Technology at Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Ropar, Madras, MNIT Jalandhar, the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, St Xavier’s College, Jadavpur University, Lucknow University and Delhi Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research University are among those making their own sanitisers, not just to meet internal requirements, but also distributing some of it free. Some say they will ramp up production for hospitals if required.

A shortage in the market has driven the institutes to opt for the DIY-approach. "Giventhe shortage, we decided to make the sanitisers at the institute," said IIT Roorkee, director, Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi. IIT Kanpur is going to make the sanitisers within the campus for internal usage as it is facing shortage and MNIT Jaipur and Dr BR Ambedkar NIT Jalandhar are already doing the same.

IIT Ropar has made 6 litre of sanitisers and is now on its way to making 70 litre now. "We may give it to hospitals etc if needed," said its director Sarit K Das. Father Dominic Salvo, principal of St Xavier’s College, Kolkata said that the microbiology department at the institute had started making sanitisers, some of which it had distributed free to staff. “By next week we may be in a position to supply hospitals or poor people,” added Salvo.

Washing hands with soap is still the best option but for those with less access to water like doctors/professionals on the move, hand sanitisers are the viable alternative, says Ayan Datta, professor, School of Chemical Sciences, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata. Their institute has been making sanitisers for over a week and distributing it among staff and students. If required, they will look at increasing production for more people who need it locally.

Even institutes in cities like Guwahati, Jaunpur and Kolhapur including Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur (UP), Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu College,Kolhapur and several colleges in Guwahati have been producing their own sanitisers, as have the likes of IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and IISERs in Pune, Bhopal and Behrampur. IIT Delhi researchers have just developed an affordable test for Coronavirus, which the National Institute of Virology (Pune) is in the process of validating.

"Faculty members of Chemistry at IISER Bhopal made sanitiser, to give a bottle to every student who is travelling back home and also to all members of staff. Ideas get implemented when there is need and urgency to solve problems," says IISER Bhopal official handle on Twitter.
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