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FG pledges support for indigenous cure of COVID-19

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The Federal Government has pledged to support indigenous cure for Coronavirus and other related ailments ravaging Nigeria and the global community.

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation said this at a meeting with stakeholders on effectiveness of COVID-19 herbal remedies and natural compounds, in Abuja on Monday.

The Minister expressed optimism that with the number of professionals Nigeria have and adequate support, the country would solve the COVID-19 problem.

He explained that the Federal Government was committed to finding indigenous solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has remained a substantial threat to health and economy of the country.

Onu recalled that on Feb. 13, 2020, two weeks before the first case of the COVID-19 was detected in Nigeria, he had called on those who have inventions, herbal products or natural compounds for coronavirus infection to come forward.

He said that the ministry had received and studied several submissions, adding that a lot of the products were likely to be useful in the management of COVID-19.

“We are therefore considering a number of options for the scientific evaluation and authentication of your claims, including the conduct of clinical trials on selected herbal remedies and natural compounds,’’ the minister said.

He emphasised that the authentication was to fully establish the efficacy of the remedies and provide a rational basis for the selection of those deserving of further support and possible deployment for clinical use.

On access to COVID-19 vaccines, Onu noted that disproportionate access to the vaccines had left many people in poor countries unvaccinated, thus widening the vaccination gulf between developed and developing nations.

“Available statistics show wide disparities in percentage of fully vaccinated people among rich and poor nations.

“For example, whereas the percentage of population fully vaccinated in the US, UK, France, Canada are 61 per cent, 69.6 per cent, 72.4 per cent and 76. 9 per cent, respectively, the same for Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Morocco are 1.9 per cent, 17.2 per cent, 26 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively.’’

He stated that with such statistics, the efforts to fight and defeat COVID-19 and halt the socio-economic dislocations occasioned by the pandemic was far from being won.

Onu said the statistics also revealed the vulnerabilities of poor countries with respect to protecting the health and wellbeing of their people.

It was reported that presentations were made by herbal medicine practitioners on the efficacy of herbal remedies to COVID-19.

Among those who made presentations were Prof. Maurice Iwu, President, Bioresources Development Group, Prof. Kenneth Yongabi, Director of Research at STK Biotech and Prof. Maduike Ezeibe of College of Veterinary Medicine, Michael Opara University of Agriculture.

Sylvester Thompson

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