OSAGIE Ehanire, Nigeria’s Minister of Health says the plant from which Madagascar herb, called COVID-Organics, touted as cure to coronavirus disease is grown in Nigeria.
Ehanire, however said that the herb plantation which was developed to produce anti-malaria drug has not made much progress.
According to the Minister, the Madagascar herbal drink is developed from artemisia plant which has the capacity to treat malaria.
The Minister stated that “preliminary results of the analysis of the so-called Madagascar herbs or organics done by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) shows that it is the same as the plant called Artemisia anua, which is grown in the NIPRD farm in Abuja.”
“Some years ago, the government imported this plant and has a plantation of it in trying to develop its production of the artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), Ehanire said on Thursday during the daily press briefing on COVID-19.
“The plantation is still there, but the process has not gone that much further.”
He added that the Ministry has started to examine what has held the progress on using the plantation to develop anti-malaria drug in the country.
“We are looking into seeing what has held it up, but the plant is here; it was intended for producing anti-malarial, and the type we have here has a very high yield of artemisinin, which is the active ingredient,” Ehanire said.
“The species we have here have been tested and they have a very high concentration of artemisinin.
He added that Nigeria would go on with further research to ascertain if the herb can work against Coronavirus.
“To see whether it works against the coronavirus disease is what further research will have to bring.”
He maintained that the Madagascar herb is one component of the malaria treatment medicine.
“The so-called Madagascar herb is one component of the malaria treatment medicine,” Ehanire said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who received in May Nigeria’s portions of the herbal remedy from President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau ordered that the drug should go through the verification process which other remedies for COVID-19 are being subjected to.