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Coronavirus prompts insect-repellent maker to produce hand sanitizer amid shortage

The move mimics scores of other companies that have shifted operations to aid in the fight against the fast-spreading virus

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The maker of insect repellent Cutter is pivoting its operations to address the short supply of hand sanitizer created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a matter of two weeks, Spectrum Brands Holdings formulated a plan and began manufacturing the suddenly hard-to-find alcohol-based substance at its plant in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The hand sanitizer is being distributed across its facilities and offices around the country to address employee safety. The company is also donating supplies to local organizations across communities in which Spectrum Brands operates.

CORONAVIRUS CAUSES SANITIZER SHORTAGE, PRICE GOUGING

The move mimics scores of other companies that have shifted operations to aid in the fight against the fast-spreading virus that has infected more than 1 million people around the world and killed over 50,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Hand sanitizer from the makers of Cutter Brand (Business Wire)

"It’s a natural extension of the brand portfolio to expand the Cutter line beyond insect protection to fight germs as well,” said Steve Schwallie, Spectrum Brands vice president of marketing. “We are pleased to be able to move into this segment and provide these products for our community partners.”

Although convenient, hand sanitizer isn’t the best way to clean your hands, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For that, soap and water still reign supreme.

The agency recommends first washing hands with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

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If you’re not near a sink, hand sanitizer will do. But keep in mind that it doesn’t kill all germs, the CDC says. Read the label and make sure you’re using one that has at least 60% alcohol, the health agency says.

The hand sanitizer will be available to consumers in the coming weeks, Spectrum Brands said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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