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UArizona research lab makes hand sanitizer for healthcare workers

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Posted at 6:14 AM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 09:18:38-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Researchers in the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are making hand sanitizer for health care workers at Southern Arizona hospitals.

"We decided to focus on the most immediate way we could help with the COVID-19 response. We realized that the hospital workers on the forefront needed things that would keep them safe – masks, gowns and hand sanitizers – more immediately than any kind of research we could do at this moment," says VK Viswanathan, associate professor in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Science.

In order to make the hand sanitizer, the team got into protective gear and followed World Health Organization recommended guidelines, using ingredients in their labs.

The group is also taking requests for hand sanitizer, but their resources are limited.

"Our first priority is to help health care workers," says Gayatri Vedantam, associate professor in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Science. "They are at very high risk, and they are critical for our efforts to combat this outbreak. At some point soon, we anticipate the need for ingredients. Immediately, we already have a shortage of plastic, flip-top, travel-size bottles and small plastic spray bottles; the ability to get them in bulk would be beneficial."