COA FS, a popular food supplement in Ghana, has been urgently recalled by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) – over fears it may have been contaminated.
The FDA has also directed the general public to return the product to the manufacturer, the Daily Graphic reported Sunday.
The FDA revealed in a statement that samples of COA FS picked from the market and the manufacturing facility of COA Herbal Centre in Workroom near Cape Coast showed excessive microbial, mould and yeast contamination.
The samples were also found to contain Escherichia coli (E.Coli) which causes diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
“In view of the above, those who are in possession of the product are being directed to return the product to the manufacturer, place of purchase or any of the FDA offices across the country,” the statement said.
“Meanwhile, the manufacturer, COA Herbal Centre, has been directed by the FDA to recall the product from the Ghanaian market”, the state media quoted the FDA as saying.
The statement added that exposure of children and older adults to E. Coli contamination can result in serious health implications like hemolytic uremic syndrome leading to kidney failures.
“Individuals with weakened immune systems (e.g HIV patients) can become seriously ill due to the ingestion of products contaminated with E. Coli,” the statement said.
“In view of the above, those who are in possession of the product are being directed to return the product to the manufacturer, place of purchase or any of the FDA offices across the country
“Meanwhile, the manufacturer, COA Herbal Centre, has been directed by the FDA to recall the product from the Ghanaian market”.
The FDA further assured that its officers in the regions are working “to ensure that this contaminated product (COA FS) is removed from the market”.
Mad rush for COA FS amid Covid-19 outbreak
Many Ghanaians have been patronizing the drug, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manufacturers of the drug suggest that samples of COA FS products sent to China and tried on some COVID-19 affected persons yielded positive results.
“We sent some COA FS products to China just about two weeks ago to try on coronavirus patients and information reaching us indicates that there has been a significant improvement in the condition of some infected patients who were given COA FS products. Even though it is good news, to us it is not scientific, hence not conclusive,” the Executive President of the Centre of Awareness (COA FS) Global Peace Mission, Prof. Samuel Ato Duncan (H.C.) said at a press conference.
He also called on the government to assist with scientific confirmation of the potential of the supplement to suppress COVID-19 to boost national preparedness to prevent an outbreak of the disease in Ghana.
COA FS COVID-19 trials
The Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Prof Abraham Kwabena Annan, also disclosed that the institute had commenced clinical trials on COA FS for possible export.
He said the COA FS was one of the most important food supplements in Ghana which fortunately the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked the Ghana AIDS Commission to provide a platform to ensure that it was properly tested and assessed.
Prof Annan made the confirmation when two Chinese manufacturing companies, Sunda International Group Limited and Keda Ghana Limited presented a truckload of detergents to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in Accra.
Prof Annan noted that the research institute had commenced the process which included other comprehensive stakeholders such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Centre for Plant Medicine Research.
He said the institute was putting together critical protocols to run the clinical trials and be able to tell that COA FS could among other things be exported, adding that for now, it remained a registered immune booster and as an immune booster, if a person has a stronger immune system, it is good for fighting COVID-19 for example.
By Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH