Nigerian govt hints on use of herbs, homegrown drugs for COVID-19 treatment

We will continue to push the agenda for a local solution but if help comes from outside, we will receive it.”
Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora

The Government of Nigeria has suggested using herbs and other homegrown drugs in the country for COVID-19 treatment.

Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, gave the hint on Friday when he spoke at the Presidential Task Force's (PTF) regular briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.

According to the minister, the ministry of health has plans to meet with scientists, researchers, and traditional medicine specialists in the country, who have registered that they have one drug or the other for the treatment of the virus, soon.

He meanwhile, said there were medicinal protocols and requirements that must be followed before any herbal or homegrown medication would be approved for coronavirus treatment.

Part of the protocols, he said, was that these drugs must be checked by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to determine whether they are suitable for human consumption or not.

He said,

“We are still on it. We are still collecting interests and research findings from those who have said they have herbal drugs for the treatment of coronavirus.

“A lot has been said on herbs and some other concoction prepared for the treatment of the disease but we can’t start administering it on patients as there are laid-down guidelines on the testing and approval of drugs before they are dispensed to patients.

“The first step is that NAFDAC must check the effectiveness of the drugs and examine if they are fit for human consumption.

“After NAFDAC certifies the drugs as okay for consumption, we will then hand it over to doctors and clinicians. But even before it gets to this stage, there must be volunteers for clinical trials. We have to test it on volunteers who will put it in writing that they accept to use it.

“After the clinical trials, we will observe these volunteers for reduced symptoms. We will record this and also examine the side effect of the drugs. We must observe all these processes, so it is not a quick one. We will hold a meeting with the people who have said they have one drug or the other for the treatment of COVID-19,” .

Also speaking at the briefing, PTF chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said:

“There is no single cure to COVID-19 that I know of from all the literatures.

“Everybody is trying his hands on one thing or the other, even bigger economies with established medical infrastructure. Today it is Hydroxychloroquine, tomorrow it is another thing. And after a while, you hear those treatment prescribed being discredited.

“We are looking at all the options and suggestions. We are looking at what is happening in Senegal, Madagascar and we are also looking internally and urging our scientists and researchers to come up with solutions and go through revalidation processes, who knows, a cure can emerge from our country.

“We will continue to push the agenda for a local solution but if help comes from outside, we will receive it.”