NIGERIA has taken delivery of a batch of Madagascar’s Covid Organics herbal remedy being touted as a cure for the dreaded coronavirus as part of a programme to get it adopted as a universally-accepted cure.
Last month, Madagascan scientists came up with Covid Organics, a herbal remedy, which was made from local plants that are also used to cure malaria. According to Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina, the herbal remedy has been tested and has cured people but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has pointed out that there is no proof of this, so has refused to fund its development.
Covid Organics, which contains artemisa, a plant used in treating malaria, was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research. As a result of the island’s long isolation from neighbouring continents, Madagascar is home to various plants and animals found nowhere else on planet earth, with than 80% of its 14,883 plant species not available elsewhere, making it an ideal location where a coronavirus remedy can be come across.
However, WHO has insisted that for Covid Organics to be accepted, it has to go through the usual approval process, including passing clinical trials. To help Madagascar, several African countries have agreed to trial samples of Covid Organics and yesterday, Nigeria’s batch was sent to Equatorial Guinea from where it will be airlifted to Abuja later today.
For ease of transportation, African countries were divided into zones leading to the freighting of Nigeria’s consignments to Equatorial Guinea. There is growing pressure on the Nigerian government by different medical and scientific organisations to allow the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) to subject Covid Organics to further analysis.
Nigeria is yet to take a position on what to do as the African Union has mandated the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to review the scientific data gathered so far on the safety and efficacy of Covid Organics. However, before the herbal remedy can be administered across Nigeria, it has to be approved by Nafdac.
One health source said: “The consignments of the drug are being distributed to different countries in Africa based on zonal grouping. We have been told that Nigeria’s consignment is in Equatorial Guinea from where it will be airlifted to Abuja.
“When the herbal drink is brought into the country, we will know the next step but some medical and scientific organisations are pressurising that the drug be subjected to clinical trial. Some countries like Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea have subscribed to the drugs, while South Africa has offered to conduct a scientific analysis and Senegal said it will subject it to clinical trials.
“I can assure you that the federal government will take the best decision on the drug in the overall interest of Nigerians. Before any food or drug can be administered in this country, there are certain protocols that must be followed and the government will not circumvent these protocols.”
Desperate to find a cure for Covid-19, the US has backed the Madagascan initiative with some cash in the hope that it may prove effective. Michael Pelletier, the US ambassador to Madagascar, announced that Washington will fund the development of the drug, claimed to be both a cure and a vaccine with £2.5m.