Falsification of COVID-19 results allegation not true— Noguchi
Investigations into alleged falsification of COVID-19 testing results at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) of the University of Ghana, have revealed that the claim is untrue.
According to findings of separate probes conducted by the National Intelligence Bureau(NIB) and an internal committee of the NMIMR, there is no evidence in the records of the NMIMR that such incident occurred.
Additionally, it was found out that Kofi Acheampong, an Irish-Ghanaian who made the alleged on social media, did not travel to his UK base on a British Airways flight using a falsified COVID-19 test as he claimed.
Professor Abraham Anang, Director of the Institute, who disclosed the findings of the report at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said the matter had been referred to the University’s legal Council and Senior Management to ” take the necessary steps to protect its reputation.”
Recounting the genesis of the investigation, Prof Anang said, on January 15, 2021, the Institute received reports of the circulation of a audio recording on social media, in which Mr Acheampong alleged that he was requested by British Airways to obtain a COVID-19 test result for his travel to the UK.
He said , the accuser, took the test at the Institute on January 10, 2021 , which turned out positive when he received the results on January 12, 2021 ,but subsequently alleged that about an hour after taking the test result, he received a phone call from someone at NMIMR who informed him that the positive result could be changed to negative for a fee of GH¢500.00.
The individual further alleged that, he went back to NMIMR, where he was issued with a negative COVlD-19 test result after paying the agreed fee but after arriving in the UK, he took another COVID-19 test on January 13, 2021, just three days after the test at NMIMR, which turned out negative.
He accused the NMIMR and its staff of falsification of test results and exploitation of clients for monetary gain.
However, Prof Annang pointed out that per investigations of a five-member committee which started on January 16, 2021, the positive results of Mr Acheampong circulated on social media were true but it was scientifically possible for a person to test positive for COVID-19 and convert to negative within a few days.
“The technical data from Mr Acheampong’s COVID-19 test gave a cycle threshold value of 36.12 which suggested that his viral load was low, or he was on the path to recovery,” he explained.
Giving details of the NIB investigation, which corroborated findings of the Institute, Prof Anang said checks revealed that Mr Acheampong did not receive any phone call from anyone at NMIMR to exploit him, neither did he return to the Institute after he received the first test results.
On the use of the falsified test result to travel, he said, it was not true because checks from the British Airways established that COVID-19 test report was not a prerequisite for travel as of the time he left Ghana.
He said Mr Acheampong’s friend, one Samuel Amoako, who was with him throughout his stay in Accra prior to his travel to UK had declared as untrue that his friend acquired falsified negative COVID-19 test to enable him to travel.
During the investigation, Prof Anang said, the claim that Mr Acheampong conducted another test in the UK could not be immediately verified while the efforts to get him to assist with investigation were unsuccessful because he failed on his own promise to provide the contact of his lawyer to speak on the issue on his behalf.