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FG’s trust, funds needed to complete local vaccine research on COVID-19 – Pharmacists

By Idowu Abdullahi, 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), has urged the Federal Government to authorised research for local remedies alongside appropriate funding for Nigerian researchers to provide local remedies for the treatment of coronavirus pandemic in the country.

It said the call for authorisation was on the heels of the reports that that the apex government is about to import a herbal concoction called COVID Organics (CVO) from Madagascar.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who also doubled as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, had during the daily briefing yesterday disclosed that the nation is set to receive its allocation of the Madagascar Covid-19 herbal syrup, saying that the medicine would be subjected to series of validation tests in order to determine efficacy and proper usage before administration would be commenced to coronavirus patients.

He said that the Madagascan government had promised to send a batch of the acclaimed herbal coronavirus cure and that presidential orders had been given for the airlifting of the syrup into the country.

However,  the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa, said with adequate funding for the the country’s researchers, who had proven to be some of the best scientists in Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biochemical, Biological amongst others, getting a local remedies won’t be far fetched.

Ohuabunwa, through a statement released to newsmen on Tuesday, said with about sixty-nine federal-funded Research Institutes including National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development and the Na-tional Institute for Medical Research, the country is poised to produce the best local remedies if authorised and funded by the government.

According to him, the scientists needed the apex government’s trust, adequate funding to complete local vaccine research on coronavirus to augment the existing treatment protocols for patients of the deadly respiratory infection.

“Nigeria has some of the best scientists (Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biochemical, Biological etc.) in the world who have done so much work on natural and herbal medicines. Nigeria has developed a pharmacopeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna – potent sources of phytomedicines. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, a number of them have raised their voices that they have herbal and natural products that can be used to treat or manage COVID-19. Some have patents. Many herbal companies and producers have announced specifically that they have herbal formulations that can do what this ‘inven-tion’ from Madagascar can do.

“We have raised our voices severally that the Federal Government should review these claims and help put them through clinical evaluation as most of these producers cannot afford to conduct clinical trials. We have recommended that a portion of the nearly 25 Billion Naira donated/allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic should be dedicated for local research and development.

“We urge our Government to save Nigerian Pharmaceutical Scientists and other scientists from the shame of having our country import and try herbal remedies which God has given us in abundance and some of which our grandfathers and grandmothers have used for ages.

“Let us try our own local formulations before we try COVID Organics or any other imported remedy. Every well-meaning nation has been in a race to find cures, remedies and other medical supplies used for COVID-19, while we seem to wait for other nations to solve our problems.

“We must seize this opportunity to look inwards, build confidence on our abilities, competences and re-orientate our national economic philosophy from import dependency to export driven. And Nigeria can beat India and China in the production and export of herbal products if anyone is willing to lead us down this part,” the statement said.

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