Pune coronavirus updates: IISER, NCL step in, make their own sanitisers for in-house staff

Anjali Marar
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The expertise of these two reasearch institutions could come in handy at this crucial time, when medical stores in the city are fast running out of hand sanitisers (Representational)

EVER SINCE the coronavirus outbreak, hand sanitisers have been flying off the shelves. Rising to the occasion with their expertise, chemists at Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) have produced sanitisers at their own laboratories and have been using them for in-house purposes.

Both the institutes have been using self-made sanitisers in, as per standard norms prescribed by World Health Organization (WHO).

The expertise of these two reasearch institutions could come in handy at this crucial time, when medical stores in the city are fast running out of hand sanitisers. Besides, those available are being sold at exorbitant rates, ranging from Rs 250 to Rs 450 for different brands and capacities.

"In this hour of need, we could put together required ingredients and have produced about 25 litres of hand sanitiser, so far. They have been bottled and kept at the institute's wellness centre. This centre has distributed the bottles within the campus," H N Gopi, head, department of chemistry at IISER, Pune, told The Indian Express. This is the first time that IISER has mass-produced hand sanitisers.

The institute has also expressed its willingness to provide hand sanitisers to all those in need, given that personal hygiene is paramount in guarding against the spread of coronavirus.

"If anybody requires sanitisers, the institute is willing to provide them free of cost," added Gopi. Neighbouring NCL too has produced their own sanitisers and recently gave them away to its own staff. All those who require to continue with their work have been provided with them, officials said.

"Our staff requested sanitisers, so we distributed bottles to 70 to 80 of them till last week," said an NCL official.
While the process of producing hand sanitiser is not new, having the right ingredients and expertise are key in producing those which kill germs right away.

"It takes about an hour to prepare the sanitiser mixture, but it needs to be kept aside for at least 24 hours before it is actually utilised," Gopi said.

Asked if NCL could help if needed, he said, “It will be definitely considered by senior NCL authorities, if such a request is made.”

NDA suspends academic classes till March 28 after faculty writes to principal

A DAY after faculty members wrote to the principal of National Defence Academy (NDA) to stop lectures in wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the tri-services academy suspended academic classes on Saturday.

The Indian Express had reported that faculty members of NDA had written to the principal that ongoing lectures should be suspended with immediate effect to avoid possible spread of the virus and had even expressed displeasure over the fact that the lectures were still being held.

The directions issued by NDA also state that faculty members living outside the Khadakwasla campus will be working from home. Officials said classes had been suspended till March 28, following which the situation will be reviewed. The 'Janata Curfew' or self-imposed curfew as proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be oberved on the campus, an official said.

The academy has already suspended all hikes and outdoor tours and also barred visitors from meeting cadets and entering the campus. (ENS)