UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Covid-19: UCL provides vital resources to frontline NHS

17 April 2020

UCL is manufacturing crucial alcohol hand sanitiser and has donated of thousands of pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as part of our efforts to support the NHS during the national Covid-19 pandemic.

UCL is producing alcohol-based sanitising liquids

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, demand for alcohol-based hand sanitising products has rocketed. With shortages a real possibility, teams in UCL Chemistry and UCL School of Pharmacy are working to bridge any gap by manufacturing antimicrobial hand wash for use at UCLH.

The first batch of hand sanitiser is in progress and will be distributed to UCLH following approval by the Health and Safety Executive.

Appeals across UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS) and UCL Chemistry have led to the donation of a range of essential PPE including face masks, eye protection equipment and nitrile gloves. These essential supplies and equipment have now been delivered to NHS coordination centres.

In addition, in response to a plea by UK Government, multiple UCL departments have provided 16 sophisticated ThermoFisher virus detecting machines, which will enable thousands more people to be tested for Covid-19.

Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice-Provost (Health) said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic it is essential frontline NHS staff have the necessary equipment and, across the whole of UCL, staff are handing over their best gear. 

“Already we have provided NHS colleagues with thousands of items of kit, from face masks, through to eye protection, to the ever necessary disposable gloves. 


In addition, recognising essential hand gels were at a premium, our experts are now manufacturing a steady supply of alcohol based hand-sanitisers to be used by UCLH, subject to the usual approvals.


It’s ‘all hands to the pump’ at the moment and I am proud of our efforts to help ensure frontline health care workers have the urgent protection they need.”

Those helping bring these resources together include John Draper (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences), Professor Andrea Sella (UCL Chemistry) and Professor Kevin Taylor and Frank Sowrey (UCL School of Pharmacy), along with dozens of other colleagues across UCL.

In a joint statement, Professors Taylor and Sella, said: “We were asked, in response to local needs, if we could supply UCLH with alcohol-based sanitising liquids.

"Working as a small team comprising colleagues from UCL Chemistry and UCL School of Pharmacy, we have been able promptly to formulate, manufacture, package and label sanitiser products of appropriate quality, to meet UCLH’s requirements.

"It has been a privilege for all concerned to be asked to apply our collective knowledge and expertise in a practical manner to meet an urgent healthcare need on our doorstep.”

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) will shortly launch a website to bring together more formally and clearly the various resources (equipment, consumables and people) that they are seeking. In the meantime, the SLMS Research Coordination Office have set up a project team to manage requests for equipment to support Public Health England and NHS Trusts and to ensure a coordinated response across UCL.



Credit: Professor Andrea Sella

Media contact

Henry Killworth

Tel: + (0) 44 7881 833274

E: h.killworth [at] ucl.ac.uk