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Springfield Leads the Way in Developing Long-lasting Hand Sanitizer

Throughout our daily lives, all of us come into contact with millions of bacteria and germs. Next Monday, St. John’s Medical Research Institute will unveil its first commercialized product, which they say will revolutionize the way we stay germ-free. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann went to the laboratory where the product was created, and has more.

Glass containers are just a few of the research items found in the lab. The laboratory is located at the Jordan Valley Innovation Center downtown. The St. John’s Medical Research Institute is releasing a hand-sanitizer that it says is longer lasting, and is actually good for the skin. Dr. Roger Huckfeldt is medical director for the institute. He says that although hand-sanitizers are nothing new, this product is designed with aloe, vitamins, and skin conditioners to hydrate rather than dry out the skin.

“And then we wanted one that would last a long time. And that challenge actually came from a school teacher who wanted to be able to provide some protection for her kids’ hands from the time they got into the classroom, to the time they went to recess. This way when they were high-fiving each other, picking up dirty pencils, coughing, licking their hands, that they had some layer of protection without constantly having to reapply the product [hand-sanitizer],” said Dr. Huckfeldt.

Huckfeldt says that this product is unusual because it acts as a cleanser, not just a sanitizer. It’s designed to work for up to three hours against most common bacteria. He says it does not sting like other hand-sanitizers do, because it provides a layer which guards minor skin abrasions, cuts and scrapes. Huckfeldt says that although there are products available that claim to be long-lasting, they only protect against bacteria re-growth, not new contamination.

“We tested that by bringing in human volunteers to test the product. We had them use the product and wait three hours without touching anything. They could not touch their face; they could not touch the desk. And at the end of three hours we put 5.4 trillion bacteria on their hands. And we found that even at three hours we killed 99.9 percent of bacteria we had just placed on their hands,” said Huckfeldt.

The new hand-sanitizer is a foaming product and comes in a variety of sizes. Huckfeldt says that although it may cost more per bottle than current hand-sanitizers, the cost per application will be the same since this one is longer lasting.

“Everything that we have done with the product so far has come out of local work like our graphic arts folks, our bankers, and our legal side. Our manufacturing is done in Nixa at Airemaster and they will be doing our mixing and bottle-filling,” said Huckfeldt.

Huckfeldt says while the product will released locally at first, plans are underway to ultimately take the product nationwide. The name of the product is “Hands First.” For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.