The Federal Government on Monday said the plant used for the herbal drug produced by the Republic of Madagascar for the prevention and cure of coronavirus (COVID-19), grows in the country.
Nigeria’s consignment of the herbal drug is said to be in transit to Equatorial Guinea, from where it will arrive the country in Abuja, by air.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the herbal drug will be subjected to analysis by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to determine its efficacy and safety before it can be adopted for the treatment of COVID-19.
Speaking during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, Ehanire said: “We are going to get samples of the herb of the botanical product for analyses and also probably use that opportunity to speak with the health authorities there particularly the scientific community on how they use it.
“We will also give it to the research community here with us to examine and see what they can do with it.
“We understand that it is something called Artemisia Annua, which also grows here. But we would like to get that sample and compare it with the strain here to know if they are exactly identical or similar and then see what properties it has.
“It will be subjected to analysis to find out what works in there and how it works and is used in getting a cure. All countries around the world are interested in finding a cure and we are not different; So we’ll look at all options and promises that have been made.
“Before we give any of these medicines to our people we will make sure they are actually safe and that they work.”
The Minister also stated that it will continue to encourage local producers of personal protective equipment (PPE), as it prefers local ones to their foreign counterparts.
“Some Nigerian manufacturers of PPEs have made presentations to us and shown us samples of what they can make. We have sent those samples to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to look at it to see if they are well constructed and if the materials used are good.
“Once we have the go-ahead, we definitely prefer local production of personal protective equipment to foreign, ones first because they are fast and quick, and also because they create jobs and stimulate the economy. We give preference so local manufacturers,” he said.