Panther of the Week: Chemistry Department

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When Kenya recorded its first case of Corona virus, the Chemistry Department in Kimathi joined the fight by making hand sanitizers. These sanitizers were immediately distributed throughout the campus. Students, staff and visitors getting into the institution were required to apply the sanitizer before they could be allowed entry. These measures are still in place today.

The Kimathi made hand sanitizer

The sanitizer developed by the Chemistry department is more reliable than most of the sanitizers currently in the market. The Kimathi sanitizer contains around 80% alcohol, which not only deactivates but also scuttles the virus, as explained in the video below.

A video explaining the action of the Kimathi made hand sanitizer

As the fight against Corona virus intensifies, the high cost of sanitizers is becoming a challenge. A 500 ml bottle of alcohol based sanitizer, which the Chemistry Department developed, is going for up to sh.1300. Of course there are cheaper options, but some of them are not genuine sanitizers and are not effective. Even some of the genuine ones that use 60% alcohol would need to be used together with soap to be effective, as explained in the video above.

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DekuTrends liaised with the students from the Chemistry Department to learn how we can combat this. It turns out that it is possible to make your own hand sanitizer for use at home. The ingredients you would need are rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel and lemon juice. Rubbing alcohol should be available from Syour nearest chemist.

Chemistry students extracting aloe vera gel. Image source: Kimathi FB page

The aloe vera gel would serve to counteract the harshness of alcohol and keep your hands smooth. Aloe vera plants can be found growing around in most places, especially in rural areas. Once you find the aloe vera, all you have to do is remove the thorns, cut the plant into pieces and blend them to produce the gel. You only need a few drops of lemon juice. The minimum required alcohol concentration is 60%. For best results, you can aim for an alcohol percentage of 80%.

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Silicon

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