Platinum and COVID-19
Today, platinum, together with some of its sister Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), is more relevant than ever as it joins the fight against COVID-19. Platinum is the material of choice for electrodes in blood gas analysers due to its fast response and reduced measurement error compared with other electrode options.
Instruments that read blood gas composition are proving vital as a diagnostic tool for healthcare professionals treating the virus as they help to screen, diagnose and monitor patients suffering from respiratory compromise. They can be used across a wide range of settings from emergency medicine and critical care to dialysis units or the laboratory.
Platinum catalysts in the chemical sector are also playing their part and are involved in the manufacture of both polypropylene and medical-grade silicones for sought-after personal protective equipment (PPE) and other disposable medical products.
PGM catalysts are also used in the production of many active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), including antibiotics used in the treatment of some COVID-19 patients. An API is the biologically active component of a pharmaceutical product.
It is not only medical settings that are benefiting from the use of PGMs. Electrochlorination systems are being deployed in Italy, China, Japan and Singapore to produce sodium hypochlorite for disinfecting surfaces including those in buildings and public areas as part of efforts to beat the virus. The PGMs iridium and ruthenium are important catalysts used in these systems to produce chlorine.