In the face of a shortage of hand sanitisers amid rising fears of the coronavirus in Bangladesh, several leading universities produced their own hand sanitisers, not just to meet internal requirements, but also for distributing some for free amongst the masses. Before educational institutes were shut down owing to the pandemic, individuals from North South University, Independent University, Bangladesh, BUET, Dhaka University, Daffodil International University, Comilla University and Chittagong University produced their own hand sanitisers.
During an interview, the Vice Chancellor of Comilla University, Prof Dr Emran Kabir Chowdhury shared the formula that his students are using to make these hand sanitisers, "The formula is very simple: 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, 2 percent glycerol, and 2 to 3 percent aloe vera," he said. Similar formulae can be found online, displaying this easy solution of compounds. The team of Daffodil International University was led by Prof Dr Md Bellal Hossain, Dr Nizam Uddin, Dr Amir Ahmed, and Md Suzauddula, while the students contributed in the labelling and packaging, as per the Department of Nutrition and Food Engineering.
Professor and Head of the Department of Chemistry of BUET, Dr Md Shakhawat Hossain Firoz, stated, "This product is not for sale, but if anyone is interested to take it for any particular community or group and distribute it for free, the Department of Chemistry will take into account the production cost only, provided, the raw materials are available in the local market," while extending his gratitude to the Forum 86 of BUET for sponsoring it. A member of the core team, Dr Ayub mentioned, "Beside myself the project was simultaneously led by Dr Firoz, Dr Imran, Dr Ayesha Sharmin, Dr Elius, Dr Nishat Sharmeen, Dr Chanchal, Dr Mahbub, Md Kausar, and the staff members and students from different departments of BUET." They have distributed the sanitisers amongst students in their dormitories.
As the youth of the nation are doing their best to help out in this time of crisis, Dr Maksud Helali, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering of BUET, in his youthful spirit, has been making PPE for doctors by himself and looking forward to producing on a mass scale.
Department of Pharmacy, Dhaka University, handed out the hand sanitisers they made amongst their teachers, staff members and hall residents. They produced over a couple hundred of these sanitisers, which were available for free. Through a partnership with Standard Bank, Dhaka University distributed their hand sanitisers to rickshaw pullers in the streets as well. The Department of Chemistry, Chittagong University, distributed their hand sanitisers amongst their teachers and staff members. Their team was led by Dr S M Abe Kawsar.
North South University's Department of Pharmacy produced their batch of sanitisers, right before the shutdown. The team was led by Dr G M Sayedur Rahman, Chairman and Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Their Department of Public Health have also prepared a team of health professionals who will provide virtual services around the clock, not just to the NSU community, but to anyone who requires them. Independent University, Bangladesh's Prof Dr JMA Hannan, Head, Department of Pharmacy and Dr Rajib Bhattacharjee, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy, manufactured hand sanitisers, alongside their Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Milan Pagon.
With the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending multiple formulations to make hand sanitisers locally for combatting this pandemic, universities have taken quite a practical approach, bearing the safety of our community in mind. Let's hope as people are in self-quarantine, the endeavours of these institutes help them out in this time of crisis.