UCL Chemistry & Help for UCH

UCL Chemistry Staff have continued to work during the lockdown to produce 400litres of hand sanitiser to help our colleagues at University College Hospital, local care homes and charities.

When the department locked down on 18 March, Professor Andrea Sella, Lab Technician Claire Gacki and PhD Student Claudio Oliveira Lourenco continued working to help address the shortages of essential items that defined those early weeks of the covid-19 crisis seen here in London. In addition to hand sanitiser production Professor Sella collected all unused PPE in the department and packaged it up to donate to UCLH. 

Claire described the sanitiser manufacuring process:

We followed a WHO recipe to make the hand sanitiser. There were two versions of the method - one used Ethanol and one used Isopropyl Alcohol. We used the ethanol method first, until we used up all the ethanol in the department, and then we moved onto the isopropyl alcohol method, until we used up all of that as well. 

We cleaned our working areas with 70% ethanol solutions. We had a dedicated, sterile area for the manufacturing of the sanitiser and a bottling area, where we dispensed the sanitiser into smaller pump bottles. We boiled all the distilled water on hot plates, and allowed it to cool down. 

All our batches and bottles were labelled, with batch numbers, detailed information of the sanitiser and all the relevant GHS symbols. We tested the density of each batch, to make sure to was correct, in accordance to the WHO recipe. 

Our first load of batches went to UCLH. We transported the boxes of bottles over to the NHS offices on Tottenham Court Road. 

Some of the other batches went to local councils and nursing homes. The rest of them are sitting in the Graham Lab waiting for someone to need them. 

All up we made about 20 batches of 20Ls, so about 400L in total. 


    UCL Covid-19 pages for information for staff and students, and links to resources and support

    For all information on Departmental Safety go to the Chemistry Safety Moodle

    UCL Chemistry Safety Officer
    Brian Kavangh
    Email: Safety.Chem@ucl.ac.uk