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Covid-19, the NHS… and Government!

Surely the world’s safest, most effective biocide must have role in combating the world’s most disruptive virus?

On March 6th 2020 the WHO listed HOCl in the form of NaDCC granules as a critical commodity (together with scrubs, visors, goggles and alcohol hand rub) for the purpose of PPE in health care facilities in the face of Covid-19.

In early April the Trust had already started a campaign to provide NaDCC tablets to keyworkers, purchasing a pallet load, and distributing them to a care homes and hospitals, as well as carers who were still doing their rounds in the community.

Campaign banners on our website 2020

 Delivery of NaDCC tablets for distribution to keyworkers.
A Facebook post from a grateful recipient of our tablets.

But it soon became clear that it was PHE and NHS who should be distributing NaDCC to staff for personal use, and fogging or misting the Covid wards and entrances and exits to hospitals should be a priority, so we asked the burning question:

Why were NHS staff not supplied with HOCl?

The Trust first contacted the NHS Supply chain to point out that staff already had the means to make HOCl at their fingertips on the 27th May 2020. They would just need to order the one without the added detergent.

NaDCC listed on the NHS Supply Chain

The Supply Chain told us each NHS Trust was responsible for deciding what they wanted to purchase, and the NaDCC was generally ordered by hospital cleaning contractors.

On June 11th after a dear supporter, Richard Arthur, successfully piqued the interest of the NHS England & NHS Improvement's 'PPE ReUSE Cell' their Covid-19 Re-use Sprint Team responded with a data request…

They were looking for technologies to help them sterilise PPE so it could be reused. Fogging or misting with HOCl would have been ideal, so we responded on 17th June with this comprehensive heavily referenced document...but despite this, two days later, the NHS still wanted testing to be conducted.

"As I’m sure you will understand, further testing will be required to positively prove the efficacy of the fogging process specifically against gowns, masks and eyewear, particularly at the scale of decontamination that we are interested in. Your documents have helpfully shown the general efficacy of this process, expected log kill, and the fact that it is human safe, however testing will be required to ensure that there is no shielding or shadow areas that the HOCl decontaminant does not reach e.g when decontaminating many FFP3 facemasks in an enclosure, or some of the materials that are found in FFP3 facemasks. Our issue at the moment is one of a shortage of team resources to do this work – and therefore whilst your docs show that it is a promising concept, I cannot tell you at this stage what our future intent is for HOCl Fogging."

After being pressed for protocols the NHS would accept so that we could commission the testing independently to speed things up, a senior manager from NHS England & NHS Improvement got in touch on the 1st July. She was working on a parallel project looking to provide recommendations to government and the NHS to  make more sustainable PPE decisions in the future. We were then told, over a month later,

"From what I understand, some testing of HOCl has been undertaken by another government department which found it was not effective against the virus pathogens. However I have not seen the results of this testing."

Further promises of follow-ups from the senior manager came and went, and over three months later, on 16th November 2020, Dr Haroon Malik BDS BSc MFDS (RCS Ed) FFMLM Senior Policy Advisor; PPE Reuse Innovation and Sustainability, got back to us to tell us to get in contact with the Health and Safety Executive.

We had reached an impasse. A dead end. It was abundantly clear by this point that the government was pinning all their 'hopes' on the vaccine rollout, which commenced only weeks later, on the 8th December 2020.

The Trust had not been the only people to try and persuade government and the NHS to employ HOCl to combat Covid, we were contacted by numerous manufacturers and representatives of the industry, who had all been ignored, or passed from pillar to post in their attempts to get HOCl taken seriously, and all failed, despite grabbing the attention of decision makers.

The Trust believe this will go down in history as one of the biggest failures of decision makers during a supposed global emergency, and it has, three years later, emerged now that the decisions made were always in favour of Big Pharma and lobbyists, never in favour of the general public.


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