A Need Arises in the Community
Personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning agents, and hand sanitizer are among the many items now in short supply due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The University of Findlay’s College of Pharmacy is stepping up to fill a need in the local community by making hand sanitizer in our very own labs for various local organizations including health care systems, hospitals, pharmacies, and more. Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Associate Dean of External Affairs and Advocacy, and Chair of Experiential Education, Tonya Dauterman, Pharm.D., stated, “we learned there was a need in the community and wanted to provide support any way we could.”
Blanchard Valley Health System, in particular, has reached out to the local community, “seeking donations of new N95 respirators, surgical masks, protective glasses and goggles, face shields, disinfecting wipes, digital thermometers or Tempa-dots and hand sanitizer.” With Blanchard Valley Health System being one of many healthcare and public resource organizations in our area, it is foreseen that similar requests will be made in the near future by others.
Debra Parker, Pharm.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy, said“Faculty and students really wanted to do anything we can to help our community at this time, and have jumped right in by donating personal protective equipment (PPE) and compounding hand sanitizer.” Along with Blanchard Valley Health Systems, the University is looking into providing hand sanitizer to first responders, law enforcement, and community pharmacies as supplies allow. “It is a good feeling to know we are helping providers and other first-responders in our community,” Parker continues.
Filling the Need for Sanitizer and Knowledge
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged that there is a definite shortage of supplies and continues to, “work closely with manufacturers,” and, “establish mitigation strategies and prevent long-term supply shortages.” The FDA states that they, “appreciate industry’s willingness to help supply hand sanitizer to the market to meet the increasing demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic.” With the obvious strain on resources, the FDA has made available, “guidances to provide flexibility to help meet the demand for hand sanitizer.”
Several faculty members from the College of Pharmacy have contributed to the collaborative effort of collecting materials, preparing ingredients, and compounding the mixture to the required specifications. Dauterman said that they are remaining compliant with guidelines set by Governor Mike DeWine regarding social distancing and are following, “the FDA and WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines to maximize the highest quality product made in a non-industry setting.”
Ingredients used in the mixture include a high concentration of isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, and distilled water. This detailed process begins with the purchase of each verified United States Pharmacopeia (USP) ingredient. Once the ingredients arrive, the team carefully measures and mixes in proportion to the FDA guidelines, then tested for the appropriate alcohol concentration with an alcohol hydrometer. Before distribution, the solution is left to stand for three days and re-evaluated.
As the University of Findlay continues to assess the ongoing situation surrounding COVID-19, our faculty, staff, and even alum strive to find new ways to aid the community during these difficult, and uncertain, times. Dauterman stated they have been, “asked to be on standby,” to make hand sanitizer for other hospitals and local organizations.
If you are interested in helping the University of Findlay continue to support surrounding communities through the COVID-19 Hand Sanitizer Fund, you can make a gift online at give.findlay.edu.
For more information, please contact Natasha Lancaster at firstname.lastname@example.org.