Otago Uni students brewing hand sanitiser to help keep emergency responders supplied

John McKenzie
Source: 1News

Despite supermarkets insisting they’re fully stocked during the country's first lockdown, one item that’s proved difficult for people to get their hands on is hand sanitiser.

The unprecedented demand is led Otago University students and staff to start making their own, with demand quickly growing among those who need it most.

The university is now supplying its own lab-made sanitiser to emergency services across Dunedin and Christchurch.

“My students and team are willing to help as much as they can,” says Dr Shyamal Das of Otago University.

The students initially started by making 20 litres of sanitiser, to supply the university.

Word quickly got out and the demand has grown rapidly. Batches are now made in 300-litre lots.

“If you have the expertise, then it’s easy. But if you don’t, then it’s not,” says pharmaceutical student Tushar Saha.

The recipe consists of ethanal, glycerol, hydrogen peroxide and water.

Right now all emergency services across Dunedin are using it, with the Christchurch police force also requesting some this week.

The initiative is inspiring other universities to follow suit, with three in Australia jumping on board this past week.

The sanitiser won’t be available to the public, but it’s hoped that by supplying to one large group of essential workers, it should help ease the demand for those at home.