Nigeria is expected to receive samples of COVID-Organics, a herbal medicine used by Madagascar to treat COVID-19 patients.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this known at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday.
Mr Mustapha said the medicine has been sent to Guinea Bissau from where it will be sent to different countries.
“The herbal medicine has been freighted to Guinea Bissau by the president of Madagascar and certain allocations have been made to different countries.
“We have an indication of the quantity that has been allocated to Nigeria and we are supposed to make an arrangement to freight it out of Guinea Bissau to Nigeria,” he said.
Since its launch by the President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, in April, the use of the herbal remedy to treat COVID-19 patients has been trailed by a lot of debates.
In response to the launch of COVID-Organics, WHO told the BBC in a statement that it did not “recommend self-medication with any medicines as prevention or cure for COVID-19.”
The health organisation said only products shown to be effective through scientific study would be endorsed by them.
Mr Rajoelina, however, insisted that the medicine, which contains Artemisia- a plant on the Island used in the fight against malaria, could prevent and cure patients infected with the virus.
Countries like Tanzania, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, and the Republic of Congo have indicated interest in the herbal remedy.
The herbal medicine was developed by Malagasy Institute of Applied Research.
Mr Mustapha, who doubles as the chairman of the Task Force, noted that the herbal medicine will go through standard validation process before it can be considered for use in Nigeria.
“I have received instructions from Mr President to make arrangements to freight it home, with a clear instruction that I should subject it to the validation process similar to what will happen to any other medicine or syrup or vaccine that is discovered or created internally.
“So it will be subjected to the same process before it is put into any form of use. There’ll be no exception for that,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the briefing, the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, said the plant used for the herbal medicine grows in the country.
He said the expected samples will be compared with the strain in Nigeria to ascertain its similarities.
“We understand that it is something called Artemisia Annua, which also grows here. But we would like to get that sample and compare it with the strain here to know if they are exactly identical or similar and then see what properties it has.
“It will be subjected to analysis to find out what works in there and how it works and is used in getting a cure.
”All countries around the world are interested in finding a cure and we are not different; So we will look at all options, possibilities and promises that were made,” he said.