Ebola scare: Not all sanitizers can kill viruses

BY: Jasmine Arku

A Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Dr Kofi Bonney, has cautioned the public to be wary of the types of hand sanitizers they buy from the market as part of precautionary measures to prevent an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

According to him, hand sanitizers come in two forms; one meant to kill only bacteria and another meant to kill all forms of germs including bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. 

Following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, there has been a marked upsurge in the use of hand sanitizers for disinfecting the hands for fear of people coming into contact with the virus.

However, at a sensitization forum on Ebola organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Dr Bonney noted that there was a need for the public to carefully read the labels of the sanitizers before buying them.

“Take your time to read what the sanitizers can do. Read the instructions and what they contain because the sanitizer meant for bacteria can only kill bacteria,” he advised.

Checks at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) have shown that only 11 hand sanitizers on the market are recognised by the authority.

The brands of hand sanitizers that had valid registration with the FDA as of beginning of August 2014 were Sanigel, Clean Touch, Dial Hand, Samocid, Forever Hand, Steri-7, Carex, Fruiser, Purell, Bremed and High Baby.