The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scrutinizing the claims made by a Texas businessman who is promoting a lotion Bio- Germ .According to the claims made by the businessman Allan Lord, he says that his product can give protection from anthrax . The Bio-Germ Protection kits contain skin lotion, a nasal spray, an aerosol spray and a mask, and sell for $250 online.
According to the company, the lotion, which is made from grapefruit seeds and the oil of an Australian tree, can protect the skin of public safety workers responding to a potential terrorist attack. The aerosol spray can be used to decontaminate a room, and as a nasal spray to treat people who have inhaled spores.
AdvertisementAlthough some say that the product appears to be a breakthrough and the answer to the anthrax problem.
Initial claims on the effectiveness of the product were based on the research of Dr. John Heggers, a burn specialist at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. Heggers published the only scientific article on Bio-Germ in an obscure online journal run by two of his former medical residents. However the journal was forced to retract the study after two scientists listed as co-authors disputed the articles findings, saying they had never read or approved it.
A number of anthrax experts who reviewed the original article for the newspaper, placed little value on Heggers claims because he failed to test spores of a highly infectious form of anthrax used by terrorists 2001. Most experts were of the opinion that Heggers tested a weak form of the bacteria sometimes found in livestock carcasses and those that could be easily killed by just rubbing alcohol.
Although Hegger has admitted that he exaggerated his claims and says he failed in adhering to the facts, Allan Lord refuses to comment on the newspapers findings, referring questions to the products' developer, who said he was unaware that Bio-Germ was being sold, as the products are still being tested.
If in the FDAs view Bio-Germ is deemed to be violating the law, it could stop the company selling the products, or refer the matter to federal prosecutors. The Federal Trade Commission also could seek penalties if it determines that Bio-Germ has made false or unsubstantiated claims. Hence until officials review the findings of a scientific integrity committee will they decide whether to discipline or fire Heggers, a tenured professor.
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