NIGERIA’S National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) has been asked to commence studies into a possible plant-based cough mixture that could serve as a cure for Covid-19.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in December last year, scientists have been working round the clock to find both a cure and a preventative vaccine for the virus. Several drugs are currently undergoing clinical trials and across Africa, numerous herbal remedies have been suggested, with Malagasy’s Covid Organics being the most popular.
Although several Nigerian scientists have claimed they can come up with cures, none of their drugs has been subjected to the rigours of clinical trials. Looking to see if there is any mileage in any of these claims, the federal ministry of health has asked Nafdac to carry out necessary procedures for the assessment of a plant-based cough mixture.
Mashi Abdullahi, the permanent secretary in the ministry, issued the directive in a memo addressed to the Nafdac director-general Professor Mojisola Adeyeye. His document was titled Formulation of a Phyto-Medicine-Based Cough Mixture/Syrup for the Management of Covid-19 Patients by Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department of the Ministry.
It read: “As you are aware, the Covid-19 pandemic is currently ravaging the world with no definite treatment or vaccine. This has necessitated countries to look for solutions from within and Nigeria is no exception.
“It is worthy to note that Nigeria is blessed with medicinal plants which could be exploited. It is heart-warming to note that the Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 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.”
According to Mr Abdullahi, the formulation is a Covid herbal cough mixture. He said: “Interestingly, all the ingredients that make up the formulations are medicinal plants that are widely used as food materials and medicines.
“They include Allium sativa (garlic), Allium cepa (onions), Zingiber officinale (ginger), Piper guineense (West African Black Pepper) and Adansonia digitata (baobab fruit). The innovation here is the composition of the formulation.
“These medicinal plants have documented scientific evidence of long use for the management of cough and other respiratory infections, with medicinal properties of mucoIytic, antitussive, expectorant, soothing, demulcent, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. 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.”
Mr Abdullahi stated that the ministry was determined to walk the talk in the promotion and integration of herbal medicine into the health care delivery system. “The ministry will contract the packaging of the product to some identified pharmaceutical companies,” he added.