“Akpeteshie” is a regionally-brewed alcoholic beverage. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Ghanaians have resorted to its use as a hand sanitiser.
Claimed scarcity of hand sanitisers on the marketplace compels some people today to use “akpeteshie’’ undiluted even though other folks use it in household-built hand sanitiser formulations.
How does alcohol work to halt the unfold of viruses and microbes?
It is productive in killing distinctive kinds of germs, together with the two viruses and microbes, since it unfolds and de-activates their proteins.
This can be likened to eliminating braids, with the inactive proteins as the person hair strands.
The course of action, acknowledged as “denaturation”, will cripple and normally eliminate the germ for the reason that its proteins will unfold and stick.
Can “akpeteshie’’ then be an effective alternative to hand sanitiser?
The respond to, according to Prof. Godfred Darko of the KNUST Chemistry Division, is “No”.
At best, the locally-brewed gin can gradual down the expansion of viruses and bacteria but not kill them absolutely.
Coronavirus, a form of which triggers COVID-19, is transmitted commonly through airborne droplets, resulting in indications like nasal obstruction, sneezing, runny nose, cough and shortness of breath.
Although hand sanitisers will need at the very least, 60 for every cent of alcohol to kill microorganisms and viruses, “akpeteshie’’, on normal, incorporates 40 to 45% alcohol.
For “akpeteshie’’ to have 60 for each cent alcohol, it should be distilled but that are unable to be done at house without the appropriate laboratory tools.
Prof Darko explained: “These who are using ‘akpeteshie’ should instead go to the labs and get thoroughly-labelled alcoholic beverages. In the labs, we have specific established-up to re-distill your ‘akpeteshie’ to give it a larger focus. It is not attainable to do this at dwelling.”
There are other promises for the use of alcoholic bitters in addition to liquor, they consist of herbs. Anecdotally, these herbs are reported to destroy germs.
Prof. Darko defined that the constituents of these bitters are not regarded.
He urges caution, as COVID-19 is triggered by a new virus whose life-style is not properly recognized yet. The substances in these bitters could velocity up the advancement of the virus.
He says once the details are not recognized however, folks need to refrain from creating assumptions.
“In most of these bitters, there is debris. This could act as a substrate for the growth of some micro-organisms so I would not recommend that people use bitters. I would fairly recommend that people today use functioning drinking water and cleaning soap to wash their palms. If not offered, they need to use certified, properly ready hand sanitisers and not just everything prepared for them,” Prof Darko pressured.
In accordance to him, absolute alcohol really should be 95% or far more. It can be diluted to 70% with drinking water and effectively used as an alternate.
He states folks can also opt to prepare hand sanitiser at house, with alcohol as a foundation, an agent for killing microbes, a soothing agent for the palms and an agent to hold all the factors alongside one another.
“You choose the liquor as your foundation. You are likely to insert h2o but all the time check out that your alcoholic beverages amount is about 70% of the total quantity that you have organized. You could increase a bacterial agent, for illustration, triclosan, that will assistance the alcohol in killing the micro organism. Then you also require a calming agent. In this lab we use glycerine. If you don’t mix very well, the components will settle apart so we also incorporate EDTA,’’ he explained.
“The most crucial factor is to make positive that liquor is, at least, 70% of the mixture you make. Depending on how thick you want your hand sanitiser to be, you insert a ‘thickener’ this sort of as PolyAcrylic Acid acknowledged on the market place as Carbomer or Carbopol. You can use any polymer that dissolves in h2o. You could also use both agar or aloe vera gel. Nonetheless, the thickener does not add to the efficacy of the hand sanitiser,” Prof. Darko emphasized.
With the craze for hand sanitisers, it is important to take note that the ideal option for hand cleanliness is complete washing of palms with cleaning soap less than working h2o.
In scenarios where by handwashing is not simple, Ghanaians can only hope sector ladies would heed the government’s plea to minimize the cost of hand sanitisers to make them cost-effective to all.