Why we haven’t approved herbal medicine for COVID-19 treatment

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The National Food and Drug Administration and Control Agency (NAFDAC) has explained why it has not yet approved a herbal medicine for the treatment of COVID-19.

This is contained in a statement signed by the agency’s resident media consultant, Mr. Olusayo Akintola, and delivered to reporters on Sunday in Abuja.

The statement quotes Professor Moji Adeyeye, chief executive of NAFDAC, as saying that “no drug has yet been found to cure COVID -19”.

Adeyeye also warned Nigerians against consuming too much onions and garlic in a bid to cure COVID-19, saying: “If you eat too much your breath will smell and no one will want to stay by your side.” .

She said the drugs currently available can only help relieve symptoms and increase the chances of survival.

She warned Nigerian researchers and other herbal medicine practitioners to refrain from scrolling unverified drugs against the virus.

She said any product without NAFDAC approval for the treatment of COVID-19 is null and void, adding that such an act constitutes a violation of national regulatory authorities and a violation of protocols.

She admitted that onions or garlic or any of the natural fruits we eat contain antioxidants and nutrients that can help us feel better, adding that people might have used it and they are doing better. .

“If it is not documented, it cannot be recognized 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 added that they can boost immunity and the person may not be easily susceptible to infection, adding that “even with this you still need to protect yourself.”

“If you eat garlic and onion and 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 is a herbal medicine, be it tea or whatever, that can cure COVID-19, they linked it to the treatment of COVID-19, they made the ‘packaging.

We wrote a letter warning them that they cannot claim something unless it has gone through our registration process. They were trying to sell it to their staff. It is a violation of our own regulatory policies.

“No one should be saying this one can cure this or that without going through the NAFDAC registration process, herbal medicine research by academia is normal.

“It is now up to the universities to also recognize the national regulatory authority established to protect the safety of the people of Nigeria, by ensuring that the product they are working on goes through NAFDAC,” Adeyeye said.

According to her, there have been a couple of instances where the University of Jos product has been encouraged to be used by people without going through NAFDAC.

She said the university was supposed to go through the national regulatory authority and pave the way for NAFDAC to declare it safe for consumption.

The CEO insisted that his agency must approve the clinical trial protocol, stressing that “If they fail to do this and market and sell their product, such an act would constitute a violation of regulatory procedures.”

According to her, some people might have used it and they got better, but without scientific approval and documentation, we may not be able to guarantee that it is safe for human consumption.

She recalled that NAFDAC had set up a phytotherapy products committee in March 2019 before the outbreak of the pandemic, to advance research in herbal medicine.

Adeyeye said the purpose of such an idea is to make sure that the herbalist and the researcher work together, so that whatever the herbalist knows about ancestral history, the research will support it.

She further explained that collaboration with the researcher would advance this herbal medicine and be listed by NAFDAC, if deemed safe for consumption.

According to her, during the pandemic there were numerous claims that there were herbal medicines, which could be used to treat the symptoms of COVID -19, pointing out that there was not yet a single one. drug identified.

“But there are herbal medicines that could ease the symptoms of COVID -19. However, NAFDAC has not granted approval registration for any drug for this.

“NAFDAC approves the listing of these drugs, which means they have been tested and found to be safe to use. NAFDAC cannot say that herbal medicine can treat COVID -19, until the clinical trial is complete.

“At this time, no herbal medicine has gone through full clinical trials in the way that clinical trials are supposed to be done,” she said.

According to her, to do an official clinical trial, you have to write a protocol, you have to take it through the National Health Research Ethics Committee (NHREC) and you have to take it through NAFDAC.

She said the agency has not given any passing marks for COVID-19 herbal medicine, but the agency has approved certain herbal drugs that it says may alleviate some of the symptoms of COVID. -19.

She said some of the approved herbal drugs that they believe can ease symptoms of COVID-19 only work as immune boosters.

Adeyeye pointed out that such herbal medicine can prevent someone from contracting the disease, adding that when it comes to NAFDAC, she has not approved any drugs to treat COVID -19.

“We have approved drugs that they believe can relieve symptoms and relieve people of some symptoms of COVID-19, when the product is listed, the clinical trial can begin.

“It takes a lot of money to do clinical trials. The University of Jos has received approval to start the clinical trial of its products, which has not yet started.

The CEO further revealed that many herbal products have been subject to federal government grants because most herbalists do not have the resources to conduct clinical trials.

She said that many of these herbal products were under review by different government agencies across the country.

“In terms of clinical trials and official protocols, none have come to fruition yet.”

According to her, these herbal products can be used during the clinical trial to determine if they might be effective for COVID -19. (NAA)

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