The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is recommended as one of several strategies to minimize contamination and spread of the COVID-19 disease. Current reports suggest that the virucidal potential of ethanol occurs at concentrations close to 70%. Traditional methods of verifying the ethanol concentration in such products invite potential errors due to the viscosity of chemical components or may be prohibitively expensive to undertake in large demand. Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and chemometrics have already been used for the determination of ethanol in other matrices and present an alternative fast and reliable approach to quality control of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. In this study, a portable NIR spectrometer combined with classification chemometric tools, i.e., partial least square discriminant analysis (PLS–DA) and linear discriminant analysis with successive algorithm projection (SPA–LDA) were used to construct models to identify conforming and non-conforming commercial and laboratory synthesized hand sanitizer samples. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied in an exploratory data study. Three principal components accounted for 99% of data variance and demonstrate clustering of conforming and non-conforming samples. The PLS–DA and SPA–LDA classification models presented 77 and 100% of accuracy in cross/internal validation respectively and 100% of accuracy in the classification of test samples. A total of 43% commercial samples evaluated using the PLS–DA and SPA–LDA presented ethanol content non-conforming for hand sanitizer gel. These results indicate that use of NIR spectroscopy and chemometrics is a promising strategy, yielding a method that is fast, portable, and reliable for discrimination of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with respect to conforming and non-conforming ethanol concentrations.
© 2021 The Author(s)
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