Nigeria’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr.
Ogbonnaya Onu has said that Nigeria is moved to search for indigenous homegrown solutions to COVID-19 which has remained a threat to the health of its citizens.
READ ALSO:“Science, Technology & Innovation have created many SMEs in Nigeria”- Minister
Onu stated this in a meeting with Scientists, Researchers and Traditional Medicine Practitioners, on claims of effectiveness of COVID-19 and Natural compounds, held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The Minister recalled that few weeks before COVID-19 was reported in Nigeria, he announced a given away price of 36 million to any Nigerian Scientists/Researcher who can develop a remedy to COVID-19.
This he said was part of the strategy to speed up the development of Home grown solutions with the aim of protecting Nigerians against COVID-19 virus
” Again Nigeria needs to find the best way to harness local expertise and resources in the development of home grown vaccine, to ensure that our people are protected” he said .
In response to the Minister’s call, many scientists have made submission of their herbal remedies to Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, which lead to the inauguration of an Inter-ministerial Committee of Experts on COVID-19 herbal remedies in the ministry.
According to Dr.
Onu, the essence of this was to review the claims and submissions by Nigerian Scientists, Researchers and Traditional medicine Practitioners.
The Outcome of the claims, the Minister said, was resolved in selection of several herbal remedies for COVID-19, through the conduct of Clinical Trials, to agree and discuss on all claims.
Onu further said that global community has recorded significant progress in curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic through the cooperation of PFIZER, BIONTECH, Astra-Zeneca and host of others in developing vaccines which have proven efficacious in protecting against SARS-COVID-2 as well as its variants.
Onu stated that despite the progress made so far, the disparities in percentage of vaccinating the rich and poor in the country, COVID -19 could not easily be won all over the world.
This he said clearly shows that no nation can depend entirely on outside help to meet the health challenges of her people.
He therefore resolved to say that Nigeria must develop the capacity, through research and innovation, to look after the health of Nigerians.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Science and Technology and Innovation, Barrister, Muhammed Abdullahi who was ably represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr.
Etah Akpan, thanked the Hon.
Minister for his initiative, support and leadership towards the development of a home grown solution for the treatment and management of COVID-19 in Nigeria and beyond.
He also commended the efforts of the scientist and researchers as well as herbal practitioners for their efforts at finding solution towards covid-19.
Meanwhile, professor of Pharmacognosy and President of Bioresources Development Group Professor, Maurice Iwu, noted that the process of drug development takes time and the solutions would be accepted based only on verifiable evidence.
“IHP-Detox Tea, for example, has received wide acceptance in Nigeria and overseas.
He added that the science is sound, but Nigeria still need verifiable clinical data on the product.
“I believe that most of the claims are based either on the conceptual similarity of symptoms of COVID-19 with the activities of their products or the literature information on the ingredients, not on empirical data, which is not acceptable, he said.
According to professor Iwu, over time, the evidence based on safe use and efficacy will emerge.
“We are still going ahead with our plan for the clinical trials of IHP-Detox Tea, although Andrographis is one of the most extensively studied natural products and the plant that yielded of the active compound and has been clinically evaluated in several studies.
” He said.
Nigerian researchers committed to homegrown solutions to COVID-19 through STI