Coronavirus update in India: Facing shortage, IIT Delhi's Chemistry dept creates its own hand sanitiser
Photo: V. Ramgopal Rao/Twitter

The novel coronavirus has sent many into a state of panic. With no discernible cure available for the virus, people have taken to stockpiling sanitisers, masks and the like.

The frenzied stockpiling has led to a shortage in many parts of the country. As sanitisers become an increasingly valuable commodity, prices have risen. The government has now declared masks and sanitisers as being 'essential commodities' and both state and central governments have cracked down on those hoarding these items. However the shortage continues to last.

In the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, a shortage in supply of hand sanitisers however became cause for experimentation recently.

"We were facing issues getting hand sanitisers in large quantities. Even when they were available, vendors were charging exorbitant amounts and quality was suspect," recalls Professor V. Ramgopal Rao.

Taking to LinkedIn on Saturday, the Director of IIT Delhi, narrated how the Chemistry department of the institution decided to take matters into their own hands.

Rao recalls that "out of frustration" he had suggested to one of the Chemistry professors that they prepare the solution in-house.

"...for such a small thing, you don't need an IIT Professor, it can be done by our technical staff," he was told.

In two days, the team, led by Technical Superintendent J P Singh and Junior Lab Assistant Rajbir Singh had prepared "50 litres of hand sanitizers meeting WHO standard (certified by IIT Profs)". The cost incurred says Rao, was negligible.

The sanitisers were now available to people from all other departments, he added.

In India there have been 271 people who have so far tested positive for the virus. Four people who had earlier tested positive for the virus have passed away. Globally the death toll has crossed 10,000.

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