The doctor who gave sanitiser free to the world

Coronavirus: meet the Doctor who gave sanitiser free to the world
Coronavirus: meet the Doctor who gave sanitiser free to the world

The doctor who developed hand sanitiser and worked to spread its use cheaply around the world has told Connexion of his satisfaction at seeing his invention helping the fight against Covid-19.

He deliberately created and promoted an easy-to-make, patent-free formula which has replaced soap and water in hospitals worldwide.

In the 1990s, Didier Pittet, an infectious diseases specialist at Geneva University Hospitals, wanted a fast way to disinfect hands – in hospitals, workers might need to do it up to 20 times an hour. He worked with a colleague, British pharmacist William Griffiths, to develop today’s hand sanitiser gel.

Prof Pittet said early versions of “alcohol-based hand rub” were a liquid “rinse”. He said: “There were rinses made in Germany, but not used very much. William was interested in ...

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