Hand sanitiser draws festival attendees

University of Otago pharmaceutical sciences senior lecturer Shyamal Das and his PhD students...
University of Otago pharmaceutical sciences senior lecturer Shyamal Das and his PhD students Rishi Shah, Tushar Saha, Bishal Adhikari, Prakash Khadka and Rakesh Bastola. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Emergency supplies of hand sanitiser, produced during the Covid-19 lockdown, earlier sparked hundreds of inquiries and have now become a hit at the New Zealand International Science Festival.

University of Otago pharmaceutical sciences senior lecturer Shyamal Das said about 20 people, including primary and secondary school pupils, had attended sessions on the sanitiser at the Otago School of Pharmacy yesterday.

Similar sessions also proved popular on Sunday, Dr Das said.

The sessions, held by Dr Das and his doctoral students, explained why sanitiser proved effective against Covid-19 and other microorganisms, though he warned against "trying this at home".

Thorough use of soap and water was also an effective method to sanitise hands at home, and he told people not to try making their own sanitiser because of the potential dangers of some of the ingredients.

Dr Das said he was keen to help the community during the lockdown emergency when sanitiser was in short supply.

He and his students had produced 1200 litres of the sanitiser overall, working to World Health Organisation guidelines.

Some of this had been distributed, through the university, to the police both in Otago and Canterbury, and to some other key community organisations.

Science festival attendees had also responded positively to his presentations about the sanitiser, and he had earlier received hundreds of emails inquiring about getting supplies.

He had provided advice to some Australian academics who were also interested in producing it, he said.

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