By Haruna Gimba
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said it has not approved any herbal medicine for the treatment of COVID-19.
This is contained in a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja, by the NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola.
The statement quoted NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Moji Adeyeye as saying that “no single drug has been found yet to cure COVID -19.”
She also warned Nigerians against excessive consumption of onions and garlic with a view to curing COVID-19, saying taking too much of it will make people avoid a person because of breath smelling.
Prof. Adeyeye said that medicinal products available now could only help ease symptoms and up the odds of survival.
She, therefore, warned Nigerian researchers and other herbal medicine practitioners to desist from parading unverified medicine for the virus.
According to her, without NAFDAC approval, any drug for the cure of COVID-19 is null and void, adding that such an act was a violation of the national regulatory authorities and a breach of protocols.
The director general admitted that onions or garlic or any of the natural fruits that people take have antioxidants and nutrients that can help them feel better, adding that people might have been using it and they get better.
“If it is not documented, it cannot be recognised by NAFDAC for COVID-19. They work on our cells to keep people healthier, but not to cure COVID -19. They help our body to function better. There is no cure for COVID -19 yet,” she said.
Adeyeye added that they may boost the immunity and the person may not be easily susceptible to infection, adding that even with that, people still have to protect themselves.
She said: “If you eat garlic and onion and you don’t use a face mask, you will get COVID -19. If you are in a bad environment; If you don’t wash your hands, you will get COVID -19.
“Everything has to be put together. The University of Jos said that there was herbal medicine, whether it is tea or whatever, that can cure COVID-19, they linked it with the treatment of COVID -19, they did the packaging.
“We did a letter to warn them that they cannot claim something unless it has gone through our listing process. They were trying to sell it to their staff. That is a violation of our own regulatory policies,” she said.
The NAFDAC DG added that the university was supposed to go through the national regulatory authority and pave the way for NAFDAC to declare it safe for consumption.
Prof. Adeyeye insisted that her agency must approve the clinical trial protocol, stressing that “If they don’t do that but go ahead to market and sell their product, such act would be a violation of regulatory procedures.”
According to her, some people might have been using it and they got better, “but without being approved scientifically and documented, we may not be able to guarantee its safety for human consumption.”
She explained further that collaboration with the researcher would enable such herbal medicine to be advanced and to be listed by NAFDAC if found safe for consumption.
According to her, during the pandemic there were lots of assertions that there were herbal medicines, that could be used to treat symptoms of COVID -19, pointing out that there was no single medicine that has been identified yet.
She said that the agency has not given any pass mark as regards COVID-19 herbal medicine, but that the agency has approved some herbal medicines that they claim can alleviate some of the symptoms of COVID -19.
She said that some of the approved herbal medicine which they claim can alleviate COVID-19 symptoms only work as immune boosters.
Adeyeye pointed out that such herbal medicine may prevent one from getting the disease, adding that, as far as NAFDAC was concerned, it has not approved any medicine to treat COVID -19.