The Federal Government on Friday, May 8; announced there are pharmaceutical processes and standards that must be observed before endorsing any proposed herbal or homegrown drug for use by COVID-19 patients in the country.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Minister of State for Health; Olorunnimbe Mamora, during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
Mamora said the health ministry would soon meet with scientists, researchers, and traditional medicine specialists in the country who have registered that they have one drug or the other for the treatment of COVID-19.
However, the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) reserve full discretionary powers to determine whether they are fit for human consumption or not, according to the minister.
He further stated the drugs would undergo clinical trials that require a few COVID-19 patients to willingly accept to use them.
The minister said, “We are still on it. We are still collecting interests and research findings from those who have said they have herbal drugs for the treatment of coronavirus.
“A lot has been said on herbs and some other concoction prepared for the treatment of the disease; but we can’t start administering it on patients as there are laid-down guidelines on the testing and approval of drugs before they are dispensed to patients.
“The first step is that NAFDAC must check the effectiveness of the drugs and examine if they are fit for human consumption.
“After NAFDAC certifies the drugs as okay for consumption; we will then hand it over to doctors and clinicians. But even before it gets to this stage, there must be volunteers for clinical trials.
“We have to test it on volunteers who will put it in writing that they accept to use it.
“After the clinical trials, we will observe these volunteers for reduced symptoms. We will record this and also examine the side effect of the drugs.
“We will hold a meeting with the people who have said they have one drug or the other for the treatment of COVID-19.”
Also, the Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Boss Mustapha, encouraged scientists in the country to come up with home-based drugs for the treatment of the infection.
“We are looking at all the options and suggestions. We are looking at what is happening in Senegal, Madagascar; and we are also looking internally and urging our scientists and researchers to come up with solutions and go through revalidation processes, who knows, a cure can emerge from our country,” the SGF said.