NIGERIA’S federal government is yet to pass on samples of the Madagascan herbal remedy Covid Organics to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) for testing despite having taken delivery of supplies a week ago.
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.
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, for which the Madagascan government has sent Nigeria a bill of €170,000.
In line with WHO guidelines, these samples are supposed to be sent to Nafdac for examination but so far, nothing is being done. One government source said that the manner in which things are being done, could mean that the drug would not be available for testing until June given the Islamic holiday which extends from Sunday to Tuesday.
He added: “We were told that the drug, which was delivered in five cartons, was delivered to the secretary to the federal government, who was supposed to deliver the sample to the Federal Ministry of Health and then Nafdac for testing. However, as of today, the sample has not been sent to Nafdac for testing and I even doubt if the ministry has received it.
According to the source, the slow pace of work by the federal government regarding its response to Covid-19 was unfortunate. He noted that this was the same manner in which some drugs sent to Nigeria by the West African Health Organisation were delayed by over a month due to the bureaucratic processes.
Now, the source lamented that it might be June before the Madagascan drug could be deployed for scientific analysis, adding that herbal drugs would need a longer testing period than orthodox medicine. He said Nafdac would check for animal toxicity, microbial content and others in the drug, which might take about 10 days.