A study by the University for Development Studies (UDS) has shown that 54 percent of hand sanitizers on the market have no potency over micro-organisms.
The research also showed 43 percent of the sanitizers had very little potency over the organisms while just three percent were effective against the test strains.
The UDS researchers also found that seven out of eight samples of methylated spirits had no potency against their test strains. The study showed ‘Akpeteshie,’ a locally brewed alcohol and some other alcoholic beverages had no power over their test strains.
Speaking to JoyNews at the Nyankpala Campus of the UDS, Microbiologist at the Department of Biotechnology Dr. Courage Kosi Setsoafia Saba, said 48 samples of Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, antiseptics, liquid soaps with antibacterial properties were purchased from five cities: Koforidua, Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Bolgatanga to test its efficacy level against micro-organisms.
He gave the break down as 28 Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, eight methylated spirits, six Alcoholic beverages and six locally produced Akpeteshie from different bars were tested using the Agar Diffusion Test.
Dr Setsoafia said of the 28 alcohol-based hand sanitizers, six were produced in Ghana, 17 were imported eight from China, three from UK, two from Ivory Coast, two from Indonesia, one each from Italy and USA and five had no country of origin for the test.
He added that the research also swabbed the hands of 50 people on campus (Staff and students) using different types of hand sanitizers.
The Microbiologist who described the finding as worrying said of the 50 hand swabs samples taken, all except one, representing 98 percent had a growth on nutrient Agar.
This he said means 98 percent of the sampled population still had microorganisms on their hands after using the alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Dr Setsoafia said the FDA might have tested all these products correctly and approved perfectly. However, subsequent batches produced may have been compromised.
He recommended that each company approved for the production of the alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be made to have spirit meter or alcoholmeter to check for the percentage of the alcohol being used.
He added that a check be conducted on the alcohol-based hand sanitizer produced before putting them on the market or they must be checked for their activities against micro-organisms before being released onto the market.
He sounded a caution to Ghanaians that Akpeteshie and alcoholic beverages had no potency against the microbes tested.