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New hand sanitiser could help protect against Ebola19th of January 2015
A new sanitiser could help keep healthcare workers safe when treating Ebola patients in West Africa, according to its developers.
Zylast is already being used in hospitals and schools worldwide. It is said to differ from standard alcohol sanitisers in that it remains active for six hours instead of the usual 15 seconds.
Now Zylast chief executive Colette Cozean claims the product could become a lifeline for healthcare workers fighting the Ebola epidemic in Africa, where the excessive heat means that protective suits can only be work for around 40 minutes at a time.
If Zylast is applied before the suits are put on, the workers would still be protected against infection when the suits were removed, she explains. "If something splatters, it doesn't become a death sentence," she adds.
Besides remaining effective for longer, the company claims that smaller quantities of Zylast are required to kill viruses than with most other sanitisers. The product is also said to be effective against Norovirus, the H1N1 flu virus and the Rotavirus.
Zylast has been chosen in the Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge which was introduced by USAID's Centre for Accelerating Innovation and Impact in partnership with the White House plus the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Defense.
As one of the winning products, Zylast will be tested in CDC labs and could then be shipped to West Africa to be trialled in a real-life setting.