Akpeteshie is not a sanitiser, plant research centre warns public Featured

By Nana Yaw Dwamena and Isabella Agyakwa March 18, 2020 412 3 comments

Members of the public have been cautioned against using the locally brewed alcoholic beverage akpeteshie as a preventive tool to protect themselves against contracting the coronavirus.

A statement issued and signed by Baffour Osei Akoto, head of public relations at the Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR), expressed concern about social media postings alleging that alcoholic bitters can be used as a substitute for hand sanitisers in seeking to prevent infections by the coronavirus.

But the Centre for Plant Medicine Research insists that “no herbal bitters or local gin could be a viable substitute [in] hand rubbing”.

“For a sanitiser to be effective in ridding the hands of coronavirus, sanitisers must have 60 to 95 per cent alcohol by volume, and the alcohol content for bitters on the market is often less than 45 per cent.”

“Thus, clearly, such bitters and their alcohol content are inadequate as a sterilising measure against COVID-19,” the statement said.

No evidence yet

The centre also said that there is no locally sourced herbal product or alcoholic beverage which has been shown to be efficacious against COVID-19.

“CPMR also wishes to place on record that no known medicinal plant, or herbal product or local gin has, at yet, been proven to be efficacious against COVID-19.

“As a research centre of excellence, however, we are engaging with our various partners and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health and traditional medicine practitioners, to explore research opportunities in the fight against COVID-19 using herbal medicine,” the statement said.

Preventive guidelines

The centre further advised members of the public to be mindful of false information, and to adhere to the Ghana Health Service guidelines on the novel coronavirus.

It urged Ghanaians to observe basic measures such as frequent cleaning of hands with soap under running water or use of alcohol-based sanitisers, covering up coughs in the bend of the elbow or using tissue paper.

There is a need to maintain “a distance of at least one metre from people coughing or sneezing, regular physical activity, regular intake of water and, lastly, ensuring personal hygiene”, the statement added.

GPHA case negative

Meanwhile, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has disclosed that a crew member on board a vessel at Tema Port, who was suspected to be infected with COVID-19, has tested negative.

A statement signed by the GPHA’s general manager in charge of marketing and corporate affairs, Esther Gyebi-Donkor, recounted that the crew member had shown signs of fever, with coughing, a sore throat and periodic sweating and was generally feeling unwell. The suspect, who also had headaches and a temperature of 38.8 degrees Celsius, with a pulse of 127bpm, was on a ship that arrived last Friday.

The vessel was quarantined after the crew member’s blood samples were sent for testing at the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research.

“Firstly, the vessel was immediately ordered to be quarantined at anchorage. Our medical personnel, guided by marine operations staff, wore the requisite protective clothing and went on board the ship to take the temperature and blood samples of the sick crew member. The sample was subsequently taken to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for analysis,” the statement said.

It added: “At about 10pm, the results of the analysis were released by Noguchi and the sick crew member was declared negative of COVID-19. Upon receiving this good news and clearance from Noguchi, GPHA berthed the vessel around 12.15am on Monday and the sick person, whose condition is currently stable, is being treated for the requisite non-contagious ailment on board, prior to the vessel’s expected sail.”

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Last modified on Friday, 20 March 2020 13:11

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