The Guardian (Nigeria)
No herbal cure for COVID- 19 yet, NAFDAC insists
• Says existing traditional medicines only soothe, increase survival odds • Sanctions clinical trial for UNIJOS offering, Silymarin
FOLLOWING the numerous COVID- 19 herbal cure claims and the need to sanitise herbal medicine practice in Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control ( NAFDAC), yesterday, insisted that no curative drug had been found, noting that available medicines only ease symptoms and increase survival odds.
The Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who made the clarification, warned Nigerian researchers and trado- medical practitioners against parading unverified products as cure for the virus.
The pharmacist, in a statement issued by NAFDAC’S Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, explained that no locally produced medicine had been approved as treatment.
She warned that false claims were a violation of existing regulations and protocols.
Adeyeye also cautioned Nigerians against excessive consumption of onions and garlic in the guise of therapy for COVID- 19, stating: “If you eat too much ( of them), your breath will be smelling, and nobody will want to stay by you.”
Admitting that both vegetables and any of the natural fruits have antioxidant and nutrients that improve health, the NAFDAC boss submitted that they have not been documented as cure for the ailment.
Their immunity- booster value notwithstanding,
she observed: “Even with that, you still have to protect yourself. If you eat garlic and onion and you don’t use mask, you will get COVID - 19. If you are in a poor environment and you don’t wash your hands, you will get COVID - 19. So, everything has to be put together.”
Adeyeye said for any product to be certified, it must undergo official clinical trial.
On the steps to executing the process, the expert stated: “You must route a protocol to NAFDAC through the National Health Research Ethical Committee ( NHREC). We have not received any like that.”
While encouraging research into herbal medicine by the academia, she added that it behoves the dons to equally recognise the regulatory authority established to safeguard lives by ensuring that their offerings pass through NAFDAC for approval prior to human consumption.
SHE, thereafter, revealed that the University of Jos ( UNIJOS) had got approval to conduct clinical trial on its product, Silymarin.
Adeyeye added that a good number of herbal products had been submitted for Federal Government grants due to lack of requisite funds by practitioners to carry out clinical trials.
For herbal product to be pronounced effective for COVID - 19, the chief executive maintained that it must be listed first.
According to her, listing involves submission of information about the medicine, its toxicology study and microbial limit test.
The NAFDAC DG further clarified: “When they submit all these to us, we will confirm in our laboratory whether the product is safe for use – meaning it is not toxic – and also find out if it has tendency for microbial growth.”