Using ogogoro as hand sanitiser ineffective against COVID-19 —Experts

Angela Onwuzoo

As the country continues to experience increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, healthcare experts have warned Nigerians using local gin, popularly called ogogoro, as hand sanitisers to desist from it, saying it is ineffective to protect against the infection.

The experts said ogogoro has less than 60 per cent alcohol content that is required to kill viruses, unlike alcohol-based hand sanitisers that have such high level alcoholic content.

They warned that using ogogoro as hand sanitiser only provides a false sense of security against the virus, maintaining that hand sanitisers with 60-80 per cent alcohol content are the most effective.

The experts said that in the absence of hand sanitisers, thorough handwashing with soap under running water remains the best option.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, a former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Olumide Akintayo, said people using ogogoro as hand sanitisers will not get any value for it.

“We don’t need to create a problem that is not there while trying to solve another.

“For a standard hand sanitiser to do what it ought to do to prevent against virus, it must have a minimum of 75 per cent alcohol.

“So, what you have in ogogoro is usually 40 per cent rate or slightly higher, but that will certainly not do the job.

“People using ogogoro as hand sanitiser will not get any value for it. This is because, the percentage of alcohol you get in it is far less than what it should be in an ideal pharmaceutical formulation,” Akintayo warned.

The former PSN boss told our Correspondent that the alcohol content in ogogoro is usually between 40 and 45 per cent.

“This is why I said the users will not get any result by using it as hand sanitiser.

Ogogoro is usually formulated for consumption — for drinking and internal use. So, using it at that strength won’t serve the purpose for hand sanitiser,” he reiterated.

He advised Nigerians who cannot afford standard and well formulated hand sanitisers to regularly wash their hands with soap.

The pharmacist counselled, “If for any reason, you cannot afford sanitisers, any average soap will thoroughly give you the same result that you should get from hand sanitiser.

“If you constantly wash your hands, especially when you have touched hard surfaces, or when you have had contact with unkempt environment and all that, just wash your hands with soap and clean water.

“You will achieve the same effect of killing germs that is very germane to keeping yourself safe and well in this unusual and tough season that we all find ourselves in.”

PUNCH

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