Apr 07, 2020 4:00 PM


Hand sanitizer use has skyrocketed this year as individuals and businesses across the world try to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. As it takes extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in patients, providers, and staff, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) alone goes through as much hand sanitizer in a few days as it typically would in one month. With such high demand worldwide, it is difficult for factories to meet the need and challenging for hospitals like HCI to maintain their supply of this crucial product.

Thanks to the ingenuity and generosity of two companies, HCI and associated medical facilities have access to the needed supply of this critical tool in the fight against COVID-19.

On April 6, 2020, HCI and University of Utah (U of U) Health received a donation of five tons of hand sanitizer from Huntsman Corporation. This first shipment is part of a larger production initiative to help protect health care workers during this pandemic. Huntsman Corporation was founded by Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., the founder and principal benefactor of HCI. 

Huntsman Corporation typically produces high-performance specialty chemicals used in aerospace and other industries. Huntsman Corporation announced it would shift its manufacturing site in McIntosh, Alabama, to begin making hospital-grade hand sanitizer. After receiving temporary permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Huntsman Corporation quickly mobilized to develop a manufacturing process. Peter Huntsman, Chairman, President and CEO of Huntsman Corporation, said, "We thank the FDA for moving swiftly to issue the temporary guidelines that have enabled us to fast-track our production and distribution of much-needed hand sanitizer in the U.S." 

To meet FDA requirements, Huntsman Corporation partnered with another major player in the global chemical industry: LyondellBasell. The company manufactures isopropyl alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitizer, and agreed to donate the isopropyl alcohol needed to make the first shipment of sanitizer. LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel added, "This is a critical time where the public and private sectors can work hand-in-hand to help safeguard our health care workers. We are proud to have played a role in the fight against this pandemic."

"We are so grateful to Huntsman Corporation and LyondellBasell for making this donation, which will be instrumental in helping to protect the health of our staff at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and at University of Utah Health hospitals and clinics across our state," said University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins. "This is an incredible example of how leading companies are stepping up to address vital needs of health providers who are on the front lines of battling the coronavirus pandemic. My deepest appreciation to Huntsman Corporation for its innovation and swift response in meeting this need."

The donation will have a major impact at HCI and beyond. “This will greatly benefit HCI, University of Utah Health, and all the people who are counting on us to deliver top-quality care—whether it is for patients with cancer or for COVID-19,” says HCI hospital director, Don Milligan, MBA. “This is a remarkable gift that only happened because of the creativity, ingenuity, and technical know-how of the Huntsman Corporation team and the generosity of LyondellBasell. On behalf of our patients and staff, I want to express our deep gratitude for this gift that helps keep each of us safer as we respond to the extraordinary situation.”

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