Britain's Hexigone Inhibitors has begun producing hospital-grade hand sanitizer.
The start-ups’ large mixing vessels, which normally produce its highly effective corrosion inhibitor, are now working vigorously to meet demand from nationwide councils and care homes.
The COVID-19 crisis has put huge pressure on the personal protective equipment supply chain – leaving NHS staff and other key workers at risk of contracting the deadly virus.
“We’re immensely happy that we are able to support the UK’s Covid-19 response. Key workers are vital to public health and safety during the coronavirus lockdown – and this is a gesture of thanks from our team to everyone on the front line," said Ruth Bowley, manufacturing manager at Hexigone. "As a chemical manufacturer, adapting our skills and resources to produce hand sanitizer was an obvious fit, and we’re grateful to Innovate UK and Glaxosmithkline for supporting our efforts.
"We’re also very aware of the impact that the crisis has had on mental health, so we’ll be donating our profits to Mind – a UK-based mental health charity – to support vulnerable individuals through this time.”
And after some joint-learning when setting up the manufacturing process, the teams divided their efforts to increase output to the front line. The University is now able to maintain its own production in addition to Hexigone’s output.
For the sanitizer to be effective, it must contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
The batches made by Hexigone are 75 percent – precisely made to the WHO recommended formulation – ensuring that the coronavirus and other microbial pathogens are killed. Other ingredients include water to dilute, glycerol to moisturize, hydrogen peroxide to kill any fungal spores, and finally, lemongrass essential oil to scent the sanitizer.
As an SME, the efforts need to be financially sustainable, so Hexigone is charging cost price for production. The price equates to less than half the usual amount being charged by some companies, so councils agreed to voluntarily donate 25 percent of production.
As a result, out of every 1,000 liters made, 250 liters are given free to support key workers.
The team has also been instrumental in sourcing additional PPE for hospitals and care homes. They have co-ordinated local businesses to donate excess face masks to the cause – as well as all of their PPE stock – totaling over 1,600 FFP3 masks for the NHS.
“We applaud Hexigone’s efforts and quick thinking during this global pandemic. As our #EssentialCoatings campaign shows, BCF members are contributing in so many different ways, helping to meet the increased demand for goods and products critical to the coronavirus response. This example of smart adaptation from ‘business as usual’ makes our members’ response to Covid-19 even stronger," British Coatings Federation CEO Tom Bowtell said.