As the search for a vaccine continues, the Federal Government has said that no COVID-19 patient will be released to herbal practitioners to test the efficacy of their drugs.
This was made revealed by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing.
Saying that many traditional medicines might be toxic, Ehanire stated that the medicines being suggested as a cure for COVID-19 had not been tested.
On the cure of COVID-19, the traditional medicines that people said they had, we have referred them to Traditional Complementary Medicine Department of the Federal Ministry of Health and to the Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development to evaluate.
But some of them, who have written to me that they have medicines, have asked me to give them 10 patients so that they can cure them.
But we don’t do it like that in medicine. We don’t have human guinea pigs. Anybody who knows that he or she has a cure must prove to me that it was tried and it worked.
The Federal Government has been advised by Nigerian in many quarters to follow the steps of other Africa countries by trying some herbal medicines in the treatment of COVID-19.
Madagascan President, Andry Rajoelina, in April, launched a herbal remedy that he said could prevent and cure patients infected with the virus. This has seen countries such as Tanzania, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, and the Republic of Congo indicating interest in the herbal remedy.
Following the development in Madagascar, the World Health Organisation, WHO, however, said that it did not recommend “self-medication with any medicines as a prevention or cure for COVID-19.”
The health agency said there is “no short-cuts” to finding effective medication to fight COVID-19.
Mr Ehanire said all herbal medicines must go through the research cycle to ensure they are not toxic.
He also said such drugs will first be tested on animals before it can be certified.