The Federal Government has disclosed that it may explore indigenous herbs and carry out assessments for local medicines as a possible cure for the deadly coronavirus pandemic in the nation.
It said that the President, Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was open to considering local medications for coronavirus cure, on the condition that the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development assess and certify such herbal concoctions.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that it was imperative that proposed herbal medicines undergo testing by certified agencies, in order to facilitate appropriate identification and classification of the products.
Ehanire, during a recent visit to the House of Representatives in Abuja, revealed that such herbal medicines would be assessed to determine if the drugs merely reduced symptoms for patients or if effective cures for the viral infection were presented.
He said that it was not in best practice for medicines to be adopted without carrying out adequate testing of actives and veracity of the drug claims, adding that neglecting such assessment could result in another national health emergency.
“Before now, it was said that Chloroquine can destroy the virus but tests are still going on in that regard… We have to test the efficacy of local drugs to see if it can kill the virus and also to find out that if in the process of killing the virus, it can affect the body. So, the Institute will carry out the required test on the local drugs”, he said.
Ehanire called on herbal medicine peddlers who had claimed discovery of coronavirus curative medicines to come forward with the drugs, and assured them that the apex government would welcome sample submissions for assessment by the research institute.