By Alexandria San Juan
Scientists from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) have developed their own version of ethyl alcohol, amid the shortage of alcohol and hand sanitizers in the market due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Dr. Armin Coronado, director of the university’s Institute for Science and Technology Research (ISTR), said the pilot batch of the ethyl alcohol was produced last March 11 and gave the assurance that it followed the requirements and standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to Coronado, they are expecting to manufacture larger batches of ethyl alcohol as soon as raw materials are available sometime next week at PUP’s newly established Engineering and Science Research Center (ESRC).
An ISTR team headed by Coronado and licensed chemist and faculty researcher Christian Cambiador targets the production of at least 20 gallons of alcohol per month to help combat the spread of the virus.
Dr. Ma. Liza Yanes of the PUP Medical Services Department explained that ethyl alcohol has similar functions like isopropyl alcohol, but it is also safer for the skin.
The manufacture and distribution of the local ethyl alcohol is expected to begin before the end of March, the PUP said.
Frontline health workers have been appealing for additional medical supplies due to the scarcity of stocks of face masks, personal protective equipment, and disinfectants such as alcohol and hand sanitizers.