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Nigeria develops herbal medicine for treatment of COVID-19 cough

THE Federal Ministry of Health is set to unveil a herbal formulation for the treatment of cough associated with Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and respiratory infections.

The Ministry said its Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) has conducted research that led to the formulation for the management of cough in COVID-19 and other cough related infections.

The disclosure was contained in a letter dated April 28, and addressed to Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General of National Agency for Foods, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), asking the DG for the listing of the medicine as  Cov-herbal cough mixture.

According to the document signed by A.M. Abdullahi, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, and sighted by The ICIR,  Cov-herbal cough mixture was developed from medicinal plants that are widely used as food materials and medicines.

They included Allium sativa (garlic), Allium cepa (onion), Zingiber Officinale (ginger), Piper Guineense (West Africa Black Pepper) and Andasonia digitate (baobab fruit).

Abdullahi explained that the plants have documented scientific evidence of long use for the management of cough and other respiratory infections, with medicinal properties of mucolytic, antitussive, expectorant, soothing, demulcent, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.

He stressed that the Ministry was prepared to “walk-the-talk in the promotion and integration of herbal medicine into the health care delivery system.

“In view of the foregoing and the desire of the ministry to showcase to the public, a product that is 100 percent sourced locally, you are requested to carry out the necessary procedure for listing,” the permanent secretary said.

He concluded saying the ministry would contract the packaging of the product to some identified pharmaceutical companies.

When contacted, the NAFDAC Director-General confirmed to The ICIR  in a Whatsapp message that the letter announcing the development of the drug was authentic.

“NAFDAC follows global practices,” Professor Adeyeye told The ICIR.

If this drug is proven effective, Nigeria will follow the footsteps of Madagascar as the second African country to have found treatment for the deadly COVID-19 disease.

Madagascar is leading the race in Africa with its launch of Tambavy COVID-Organics (CVO) after researchers at the Research Institute in Antananarivo, Madagascar (IMRA) conducted the clinical study of the drug. The country as of May 5 reported a total of 149 cases of COVID-19 but no deaths.

The mixture is made from artemisia annua – a plant with proven efficacy in treating malaria – as well as other indigenous herbs is being touted as cure and prevention of the deadly virus which has killed over 256,000 persons globally

Already, African leaders under the umbrella of Africa Union (AU) are in talks with Madagascar to obtain technical data regarding the safety and efficiency of its herbal remedy announced for the reported prevention and treatment of COVID-19 disease.

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