Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government on Monday inaugurated a Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 Herbal Remedies and Natural Compounds as it strives to find an indigenous cure for the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, who inaugurated the committee at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, said there was an urgent need to develop a home-grown remedy and vaccine to tackle the virus.
He said COVID-19 remained a threat to the health and wellbeing of Nigerians and the national economy, as he noted that members of the committee include scientists and fellows of the Nigerian Academy of Science.
The minister said the team would authenticate claims of cure and herbal remedy for COVID-19 being made by researchers, scientists, and traditional medical practitioners.
Onu urged members of the committee to vigorously scrutinise and evaluate all claims brought before it.
He charged the committee to identify the remedies with the brightest prospects for providing protection and healing to affected persons or those at the risk of contracting the dreaded disease.
He said, “I have no doubt that the discovery of a cure for COVID-19 in Nigeria would enhance the standing of our dear nation in the comity of nations.
“It will also accord Nigerian scientists the deserved recognition and help regenerate foreign exchange earnings for the nation as well as enable a knowledge economy that will facilitate economic growth and sustainable national development.”
Onu said that the FMST was tirelessly working with all relevant stakeholders, particularly the Federal Ministry of Health to find a solution to COVID-19.
He said Nigeria with 172 other countries had been making frantic efforts for enhanced access to COVID-19 vaccines by participating in COVAX, a global initiative to provide worldwide access to safe and effective vaccines.
The minister stated that COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio, including nine candidate vaccines, seven of which were currently in clinical trials.
He noted that nine other vaccines were under evaluation and conversations were underway with major producers.
The Chairman of the ministerial committee and President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Motso Onuoha, said Nigerians have the capacity to find solutions to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said the committee would work closely with all relevant stakeholders to scrutinise and verify claims on the cure for COVID-19.