URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois is using their labs and staff for research and product production to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) is using industrial blending machines to make hand sanitizer. They’re trying to help ease the shortages throughout the state. The first batch is complete and will be shipped this week. Scholars at the UI campuses are also collaborating to design and make personal protective equipment to distribute to healthcare systems across illinois.  

Brian Jacobson spearheaded the production of the hand sanitizer at IBRL. He says, “We care a lot about the community we’re in. We all know people who have been greatly affected by this and I’ve receied many calls from hospitals and care centers about the shortages. This is a small way that our program can help and feel useful.” 

They plan to make a total of 1,500 gallons that will be sent out by the end of next week. 

In addition to this, UIC has been selected as a clinical trial site for a nationwide National Institutes of Helath study for a potential COVID-19 treatment. It involves the safety and effectiveness of an investigational anti-viral drug in hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus. That trial started on Wednesday.