The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has disclosed why the Agency didn’t approve any herbal medicine for the treatment of COVID-19.
NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola, stated this in a statement on Sunday, in Abuja.
He said that no single drug has been found yet to cure COVID -19, according to Prof Moji Adeyeye, NAFDAC Director- General.
The Agency also warned Nigerians against excessive consumption of onions and garlic with a view to curing COVID-19, adding, ‘’If you eat too much your breath will be smelling and nobody will want to stay by you.”
Stating that medicinal products available now could only help ease symptoms.
The Agency warned Nigerian researchers and other herbal medicine practitioners to desist from parading unverified medicine for the virus.
Noting that any product without NAFDAC approval for the cure of COVID-19 is null and void, and that such an act was a violation of the national regulatory authorities and breach of protocols.
“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.
“If you eat garlic and onion and you don’t use 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. University of Jos said that there was an herbal medicine, whether it is tea or whatever, that can cure COVID-19, they linked it with 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 violation of our own regulatory policies.
“Nobody should say that this one can cure this or that without going through NAFDAC listing process, the research into herbal medicine by the academia is normal.
‘’It is now for the academia to also recognise the national regulatory authority established to safeguard the safety of the Nigerian populace, by ensuring that the product that they are working on has to go through NAFDAC,” Adeyeye said.
According to her, there have been one or two cases where the University of Jos product was being encouraged to be used by people without going through NAFDAC.
She said that the university was supposed to go through the national regulatory authority and pave the way for NAFDAC to declare it safe for consumption.
The DG said that NAFDAC set up an herbal medicine product committee in March 2019 before the pandemic broke out, to advance research in herbal medicine.
Noting that the goal for such idea was to make sure that the herbalist and the researcher were collaborating, so that whatever the herbalist knows from ancestral history that the research will back it up.
She explained further that collaboration with 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.
“But there are herbal medicines that could alleviate symptoms of COVID -19. However, NAFDAC has not granted registration of approval for any medicine for that.
“NAFDAC approves such medicines for listing, it means that it’s been tested and was deemed safe to use. NAFDAC cannot say herbal medicine can treat COVID -19, until clinical trial is done.
“Right now, there is no single herbal medicine that has gone through full clinical trial the way clinical trial is supposed to be done,” she said.
According to her, to do official clinical trial, you must write a protocol, you must pass it through the National Health Research Ethical Committee (NHREC), and you must pass it through NAFDAC.”
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.
“We have approved medicines that they said can alleviate symptoms and relieve people of some symptoms of COVID – 19, when the product is listed then clinical trial may start.
“It takes a lot of money to do clinical trial. University of Jos has been given approval to commence clinical trial of their products which is yet to commence.