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27 March, 2020 - 15:48 By Tony Quested

Sanitiser production rolling as Creightons plc targets 500,000 units a week

Quoted consumer goods manufacturer Creightons plc has started production of hundreds of thousands of sanitisers and hand washing products at its Peterborough and Devon UK factories to help solve a crisis in the fight against coronavirus.

Supplies of sanitants have been crippled by global demand to combat COVID-19 but Creightons has expanded capacity to answer the SOS. 

It plans to produce 500,000 units a week and could bring onboard additional spare capacity if demand warrants. It reports existing demand from existing and potentially new customers.

Healthcare and food supply sectors are especially dependent on security of supply of sanitants. In a related initiative, Creightons has called on the Government to safeguard and boost the alcohol supply chain with the substance the mainstay of sanitant manufacture.

And in a parallel initiative to protect staff, the company is bringing in rapid antibody detection kits from China. These will be tested with partners as potential additional protection for frontline healthcare personnel.

Creightons MD Bernard Johnson, proud of his staff’s efforts, said: “The UK Government needs to ensure that suppliers of raw materials, and especially alcohol, are likewise stepping up to the plate and running production lines at full capacity.”

Creightons isn’t commenting further but Business Weekly understands from global sources that there appears to be some ratcheting up of price and/or restriction of production of alcohol. 

I’m told that Creightons has found a way to work around the apparent shortage but that there is potentially a choke point further down the line that needs to be addressed.

Creightons, which makes toiletries, skincare, haircare, soaps, and fragrances, decided some weeks ago to dedicate further production lines at its Peterborough factory and sister facility in Tiverton, Devon, to sanitant output. New machinery was ordered to support any fresh waves of demand.

Johnson said: “Creightons has responded to the massive increase in demand for sanitants without which much of the UK’s food manufacturing and healthcare sector would be unable to function. 

“We have switched production out of our traditional hair and beauty ranges into the now-critical product of sanitant. Whilst the price of core raw materials has in some cases tripled, we have been able to find work arounds and are successfully sourcing alternative component product.

“As a welfare measure and to ensure employees are not unnecessarily self-isolating because of false COVID-19 symptoms the company is also working with CIGA Healthcare to bring to the UK SARS-CoV-2 rapid antibody detection kits from China, where the patent owner is already a key supplier to the Chinese government. The kits detect immune markers specific to SARS-CoV-2 and can potentially differentiate between current and prior infection, but further validation and study is required on larger cohorts. 

“With a view to supporting the global response to the pandemic, the company will donate 2000 of these assays to the University Teaching Hospital, in Lusaka, Zambia, through an established research and training partnership led by Dr Matthew Bates (Senior Lecturer in Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, University or Lincoln) and Dr Nathan Kapata (Deputy Director, Zambia National Public Health Institute). 

“The kits will be evaluated in parallel to gold-standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for their potential to protect front line healthcare personnel.”

• Photo by Jason Jarrach on Unsplash

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