Claim: Noguchi approves COA FS for treating coronavirus
Researched by Rabiu Alhassan
Ghana’s leading biomedical research institute, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has denied reports that it has approved COA FS, a Ghana-made nutritional supplement for treating the novel Coronavirus.
Digital news platform dailymailafrica.com published an article with the headline “Noguchi finally ‘approves’ Ghana-made drug to fight Coronavirus” on March 25 and referenced the director of NMIMR, Prof. Abraham Kwabena Annan as the source of the information.
GhanaFact was alerted to the online article via messaging platform WhatsApp and has since spoken to an official of the research institute and the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority for clarification on the potency of COA FS.
We have also been monitoring some pronouncements from the World Health Organization about when there could readily be a vaccine/treatment for the virus and what manufacturers of COA FS have been saying about the ongoing media reports.
“Noguchi has not approved COA FS…It was submitted to the Food and Drugs Authority as a food supplement. What my director said was that if COA FS is a booster of the immune system, then it could help in the way of resolving but not curing [coronavirus]. We didn’t say COA FS is a cure for coronavirus. NO!” Executive Secretary of NMIMR Theodore Ahuno stated in an interview with GhanaFact.
COVID-19 Update 6th April, 2020
The University of Ghana, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, hereby inform the general public that it has not independently tested or verified that COA FS can treat COVID-19.
— Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (@NMIMR_UG) April 6, 2020
The website of Center of Awareness Global Peace Mission (COA GPM) who are the manufacturers of COA FS claimed it had been duly “registered by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana as an immune booster for general wellbeing.”
GhanaFact checks at the FDA confirmed that the food supplement had indeed been duly registered as a food supplement and according to the Head of Herbal Medicine and Food Supplement Department at the FDA, Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng, “it has been in our registry from about 2015 or so.”
However, he said the FDA has not approved any food supplement or immune booster for treating the coronavirus in Ghana.
“When you look at the market there are lots of immune boosters, a lot of food supplements that are immune boosters, each has its mode of action, these ones are all not making a claim. So, no one should make a claim that an immune booster or a food supplement is going to treat a condition[coronavirus]. No, the FDA hasn’t granted any of them that right.”
Further, manufacturers of COA FS in a disclaimer published on their website have described as “false,” media reports that COA FS is a cure for coronavirus.
WHO: No vaccine for coronavirus yet
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it will take between 12 and 18 months to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus that will be ready for market.
“Unfortunately, up until now, there is no treatment and no vaccine against this virus. Researchers are working hard on this, we have many candidate vaccines, more than 20 and probably as I’m speaking today more than 30. So, experts estimate that it will take between 12 up to 18 months to develop a vaccine that will be ready for market”, Director General of the internationally recognized Center for Vaccine Development-Mali (CVD-Mali), Prof Samba Sow said in a joint WHO and World Economic Forum media briefing on March 26 monitored by GhanaFact.
COVID-19: Ghana Case count
Ghana has confirmed a total of 214 cases of COVID-19 with five (5) deaths as of April 4.
The regions that have reported cases are as follows: Greater Accra Region has most cases (189) followed by the Ashanti Region (12), Northern Region (10), Upper West Region (1), Eastern Region (1) and Upper East Region (1).