The Federal Government says there are pharmaceutical processes and standards that must be observed before endorsing any proposed herbal or homegrown drug for use by coronavirus patients in the country .
The Minister of State for Health , Olorunnimbe Mamora, made this known on Friday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19 in Abuja .
He said the health ministry would soon meet with scientists , researchers , and traditional medicine specialists in the country who have registered that they have one drug or the other for the treatment of the lethal virus .
He noted that the National Agency for Food , Drug Administration and Control would test such drugs to ascertain whether they are fit for human consumption or not, adding that the drugs would undergo clinical trials that require a few COVID – 19 patients to willingly accept to use them .
Responding in Yoruba Language to a question asked by a reporter from an indigenous TV station , the minister said , “We are still on it. We are still collecting interests and research findings from those who have said they have herbal drugs for the treatment of coronavirus .
“A lot has been said on herbs and some other concoction prepared for the treatment of the disease but we can ’t start administering it on patients as there are laid -down guidelines on the testing and approval of drugs before they are dispensed to patients .
“The first step is that NAFDAC must check the effectiveness of the drugs and examine if they are fit for human consumption .
“After NAFDAC certifies the drugs as okay for consumption , we will then hand it over to doctors and clinicians . But even before it gets to this stage , there must be volunteers for clinical trials . We have to test it on volunteers who will put it in writing that they accept to use it.
“After the clinical trials , we will observe these volunteers for reduced symptoms . We will record this and also examine the side effect of the drugs. We must observe all these processes , so it is not a quick one. We will hold a meeting with the people who have said they have one drug or the other for the treatment of COVID – 19 . ”
Also , the Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation , Boss Mustapha , encouraged scientists in the country to come up with home-based drugs for the treatment of the infection.
“There is no single cure to COVID – 19 that I know of from all the literatures . Everybody is trying his hands on one thing or the other , even bigger economies with established medical infrastructure . Today it is Hydroxychloroquine, tomorrow it is another thing . And after a while , you hear those treatment prescribed being discredited.
“We are looking at all the options and suggestions. We are looking at what is happening in Senegal , Madagascar and we are also looking internally and urging our scientists and researchers to come up with solutions and go through revalidation processes , who knows , a cure can emerge from our country .
“We will continue to push the agenda for a local solution but if help comes from outside , we will receive it, ” the SGF said .