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Hand Sanitizer Was Invented By A Latina Nursing Student In The 1960s

When the novel coronavirus COVID-19 started to spread in the U.S., hand sanitizer became a hot commodity. Stores sold out of the product needed to clean your hands while on the go to prevent catching and spreading the virus. But, did you know that a Latina nursing student in the 1960s created hand sanitizer?

Lupe Hernandez, a nursing student in California in 1966, is the woman behind hand sanitizer.

Credit: @Rainmaker1973 / Twitter

Hernandez was in nursing school in Bakersfield, California when she thought about a gel form of rubbing alcohol. Hernandez realized that a gel form of alcohol would make it possible for people to clean their hands while on the go with no access to water and soap.

Hernandez knew she was on to something so she reached out to an invention hotline and submitted a patent.

While washing your hands is the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19, hand sanitizer is an important tool for those that still have to work. It is also a good option for people who are still healthy but have to go to the pharmacy, grocery store, or bank.

Hand sanitizer was just an industry product until the H1N1 viral outbreak in 2009.

Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

The 2009 outbreak of H1N1 drove up the demand for hand sanitizer among the public and it was soon packaged for consumers. According to The Guardian, the value of the hand sanitizer market has grown exponentially since the time before and after the H1N1 scare.

In 2018, the global hand sanitizer market value was $2.6 billion. The Guardian reports that the U.S. market value of hand sanitizer was $28 million in 2002 and $80 million in 2006.

Viral outbreaks like H1N1 make hand sanitizer a highly-prized commodity and some people try to profit off that fear.

Matt Colvin faced severe backlash after he and his brother bought out thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer in Tennessee and Kentucky after the first COVID-19 death in the U.S. The two covered 1,300 miles driving through Tennessee and Kentucky buying all of the hand sanitizers they could find in various dollar stores.

The brothers then started selling the hand sanitizer on Amazon for as much as $70 a bottle. Amazon shut them down and the attorney general of Tennessee launched an investigation into them for price gouging. They pledged to donate the product and Tennessee officials are making sure they follow through with the promise.

READ: American Cities And States Announce Mass Closures As They Brace For The Growing COVID-19 Outbreak

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