The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDC, has promised to fast-track the laboratory examination of Covid Organics, a herbal drug used to treat Covid-19 patients.
Covid Organics, produced in Madagascar arrived Nigeria on Saturday and was received by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Receiving samples of the product, from the visiting President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Embalo, at the presidential villa, Buhari assured that he would first “listen to science” before allowing the product or any new medicines to be used in Nigeria.
He added that the relevant regulatory institutions in the country would need to endorse the product before it could be used by Nigerians.
“We have our institutions, systems and processes in the country. Any such formulations should be sent to them for verification. I will not put it to use without the endorsement of our institutions,” Buhari told Embalo.
The Presidents words was re-echoed by NAFDAC, which insists that the product would be subjected to the normal procedure but that the process would be fast-tracked.
In an interview with Punch newspapers, NAFDAC’s Director of Public Relations, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, Saturday, said the agency will immediately start examining the drug once they receive it from the government.
He said, “When the drug arrives, it will go to the Minister of Health who will in turn hand it over to NAFDAC through the PTF. It is after that we would start our laboratory examination. It will be subjected to the normal procedure.
“We would expedite action on this because everyone is anxiously waiting for the result. We would speed it up but it will still have to go through the normal laboratory analysis and medical evaluation.”
The Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) which specializes in the study of medicinal plants developed the COVID-organics which contains artemisia, a plant cultivated on the large Island to fight malaria.
According to the Malagasy government, the drug has been used to cure over 100 Covid-19 patients in Madagascar with no death recorded in the country.