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HUST gives its own hand sanitizers to local people

As soon as Vietnam entered the first wave of Covid-19, the School of Biotechnology and Food Technology and the School of Chemical Engineering joined forces to produce hand sanitizers according to the WHO’s approved formula.

A shortage in the market amid rising fears of COVID-19 community transmission early last year quickly forced HUST scientists to opt for the home-made approach. "Given the shortage, we decided to make the sanitizers by ourselves," said Associate Professor Truong Quoc Phong, vice dean of the biotechnology school.  

The idea turned into a collaborative effort with faculty members, staff from two schools chipping in. They scoured for the appropriate chemicals to start compounding hand sanitizers.

Students use "home-made" hand sanitizers on the campus of Hanoi University of Science and Technology in Febuary 2020. Photo by CCPR.

“We had enough people, materials, equipment, and facilities to produce hand sanitizers at a large scale,” said the vice dean, confirming that the two schools could ramp up production up to 1,000 litters per day. 

HUST at first made the sanitizers within the campus and for the internal usage of more than 50,000 faculty, staff and students. Then the university started distributing some of these free to nearby hospitals and underserved groups of people. 

When an outbreak hit a village on the outskirts of Hanoi last February, HUST immediately boosted the production of hand sanitizers and quickly distributed 500 litters to around 8,000 people in the epicenter.

Local people receive hand sanitizers made by HUST in Febuary 2020. Photo by Zing. 

“That was a part of HUST’s contribution to the country’s efforts to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus,” said Professor Dinh Van Phong who has just retired from the position of a vice president of HUST.

With classes cancelled and laboratories closed, HUST at the time was impacted heavily from this pandemic. HUST scientists just wanted to find a way to give back to the community with their own knowledge, he added. 

Reporting by Dieu Ngoc; Translating by My Hanh; and Editing by Hanh Pham.