NIGERIAN health officials have revealed that they are considering applications from 19 different local firms that have produced herbal drugs which they claim can cure the dreaded coronavirus.
Dealing with a total of 8,068 cases of which there have been 233 fatalities, Nigeria is having to cope with the fact that the number of affected people is rising daily. However, the country has a variety of local herbs which are used to cure ailments like malaria and other viruses, so several traditional medical producers have begun working on them to see if they are effective against coronavirus.
Before any drug can be certified as acceptable, it must be cleared by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac). According to Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, 19 such applications have been made with claims ranging from being an outright cure to others saying their drug is a the treatment for the symptoms of Covid-19.
All these firms have met with the leadership of the ministry and the Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. At the meeting they were asked to submit their samples to Nafdac out of which three samples would be picked and recommended for funding.
Senator Olorunnimbe, Nigeria’s minister of state for health, said a meeting to review the applications was held with the leadership of Nafdac, the National Institute for Medical Research, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and other relevant stakeholders. He added that the ministry asked interested herbal manufacturers to tell the government what their challenges were.
“We met with about 19 of them to know what remedies they have in place and to know how we can put them through the processes from listing the medicine to clinical trial and then we wanted to know the challenges they were having. They said those challenges essentially were funding and they needed assurances that their intellectual property would be protected and their product or remedy would not be stolen or repackaged by someone else.
“The other challenge is how to go about the clinical trial. Part of that is how they source for patients because they will need patients who are volunteers. These patients have to be volunteers since it is a new product that will be put out there.
“So, we are now in the process of screening the 19 of them and we will shortlist some of them. About three will be shortlisted for further assessment and we will recommend support for them in order to fast track the process of determining their efficacy,” Senator Mamora added.