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NAFDAC dialogues with researchers, herbalists over local COVID-19 treatment

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday, May 7; indicated that Nigeria was making headway in getting local cures for COVID-19. It attributed this to the efforts of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

This was contained in a statement issued by the PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Boss Mustapha at the task force press conference in Abuja.

He said the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department of the Federal Ministry of Health had forwarded some of the claims for COVID-19 cure to NAFDAC.

Mustapha further stated some of the claims for COVID-19 cures have met preliminary requirements; but the NAFDAC will evaluate them for listing.

He stated, “For some time now, there have been claims of inventions and cures related to COVID-19. The PTF, as part of its mandate, remains supportive of and receptive to outcomes of the research.

“It, however, finds it imperative to reiterate its position on the need for such discoveries to undergo the scientific validation processes.

“The PTF is aware that the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department of the Federal Ministry of Health has been evaluating such claims and forwarded some that have met the preliminary requirements to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control to carry out the necessary procedures for listing.”

In a bid to achieve this feat; NAFDAC met with alternative medical practitioners and researchers on the listing of herbal medicines for COVID-19 treatment.

According to the agenda of the meeting; issues such as COVID-19 and herbal medicines as well as NAFDAC food and chemical laboratory testing were discussed.

Additionally, there were indications on Thursday that the Federal Ministry of Health had directed NAFDAC to carry out necessary procedures for the assessment of a plant-based cough mixture to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mashi Abdullahi; issued the directive in a memo addressed to the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye.

Meanwhile, in a bid to ensure the veracity of these claims, the Minister of Health; Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday, said the local medicines in Nigeria had not been tested and could be poisonous.

Also, the ministry of health in its letter to the NAFDAC DG; noted there was no definite treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.

It stated, “This has necessitated countries to look for solutions from within and Nigeria is no exception.

“It is heartwarming to note that the Department of the TCAM has taken the pains to research into scientific materials to come up with a formulation intended for the management of cough in COVID-19 and other cough-related infections.”

The ministry stated that it was determined in the promotion and integration of herbal medicine into the health care delivery system.

“In view of the foregoing and the desire of the ministry to showcase to the public a product that is 100 per cent sourced locally, you are requested to carry out the necessary procedures for listing.”

Meanwhile, the NAFDAC Director of Public Affairs; Dr Abubakar Jimoh, explained herbal drugs were listed after it had been confirmed that they were not toxic.

He, however, said that such listed drugs were not usually given full registration.

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