Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said on Tuesday that the government has not ruled out the possibility of using local herbs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, insisted that the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development must first certify the efficacy of such local drugs for them to be approved for administration on patients.
The Minister who spoke when the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefed members of the House of Representatives also said it was wrong for hospitals to turn back patients as a result of fear of COVID-19.
While assuring that government was not ruling out the possibility of using local herbs for the treatment of COVID-19, Dr. Ehanire said what the government was saying was that those who claim to have found cure should subject it to test by the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
According to him, local herbs can be categorised into drugs that can cure the virus or those that can reduce the symptoms, adding that “the body must be able to build the required antibodies to neutralise the virus”.
Ehanire said: “Before now, it was said that Chloroquine can destroy the virus. But tests are still ongoing in the process of killing the virus, it can affect the body.
So, the Institute will carry out the required test on the local drugs find out how it”.
He cautioned that doing so may result to another round of national health emergency since leaving other ailments unattended to can be fatal.
The Minister also said many people who are infected with the virus may not display any symptom and may innocently be infecting others with it, explaining that this explain the need for self-isolation and staying at home.
“Those without symptom are capable of transferring the virus to others with less immunity and this is dangerous. The solution is to keep everybody in isolation,” he said.