BrewDog hand sanitiser turned down by local hospital in Scotland

The independent brewer BrewDog is considering reformulating hand sanitiser made at its distillery in Aberdeenshire after it was turned down by a local hospital because it did not meet medical standards.

The firm said last month it would be giving away its “punk sanitiser” free to charities and to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, but a donation of thousands of bottles was turned down by the hospital.

While the sanitiser is 68% alcohol, well above the 60% minimum recommended by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, it does not meet more stringent requirements for a medical environment, which requires more than 90% alcohol.

What are coronavirus symptoms and should I go to a doctor?

It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a pandemic.

According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some patients may also have a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion and aches and pains or diarrhoea. Some people report losing their sense of taste and/or smell. About 80% of people who get Covid-19 experience a mild case – about as serious as a regular cold – and recover without needing any special treatment.

About one in six people, the WHO says, become seriously ill. The elderly and people with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, or chronic respiratory conditions, are at a greater risk of serious illness from Covid-19.

In the UK, the National health Service (NHS) has identified the specific symptoms to look for as experiencing either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work, and there is currently no vaccine. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system.

Medical advice varies around the world – with many countries imposing travel bans and lockdowns to try and prevent the spread of the virus. In many place people are being told to stay at home rather than visit a doctor of hospital in person. Check with your local authorities.

In the UK, NHS advice is that anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.

China’s national health commission confirmed human-to-human transmission in January. As of 31 March, more than 938,000 people have been infected in more than 170 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

There have been over 47,200 deaths globally. Just over 3,200 of those deaths have occurred in mainland China. Italy has been worst affected, with over 13,100 fatalities, and there have been over 9,300 deaths in Spain. The US now has more confirmed cases than any other country – more than 216,000. Many of those who have died had underlying health conditions, which the coronavirus complicated.

More than 194,000 people are recorded as having recovered from the coronavirus.

A spokesman for NHS Grampian, which includes the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: “We are very grateful for the offer from many local businesses, including BrewDog, to support the NHS at this time.

“Our supplies and equipment have to reach clinical standards before they can be put into use in healthcare settings and we have worked closely with the team at BrewDog to overcome some of these technical issues. This has been a really successful collaboration with the BrewDog team and we look forward to getting the gel fully operational in health and care settings right across Grampian. ​ We at no time ‘rejected’ the offer, we instead chose to work together on finding a solution.”​

BrewDog’s founder, James Watt, said it had distributed 100,000 bottles of sanitiser to groups including the Archie Foundation and Aberlour children’s charities and would continue to supply frontline workers and charities.

He said: “We started making hand sanitiser at our distillery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, in response to the national shortage and are doing everything we can to help.

“The production of sanitiser is completely new for us, we are working closely with the NHS to understand how we can best meet their requirements for clinical care.”

BrewDog began producing sanitiser last month amid shortages of the alcohol-based hand cleaner, which has been flagged as an important tool in combatting coronavirus.

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