The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says only one indigenous product has been presented to treat COVID-19.
Some researchers in Nigeria have suggested herbal solutions for the treatment of the disease.
Although the World Health Health Organisation (WHO) said no vaccines yet to cure the virus, the global body later said investigations are ongoing on some of the herbal remedies.
Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general of NAFDAC in a statement, said there have been treatment claims for COVID-19 in Nigeria but the agency has only seen one submission.
“The rush to mitigate the mortality and morbidly resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in acceleration of product development, repurposing of formulations, off label use of therapeutics and the search for a vaccine to prevent COVID 19,” she said.
“Because no vaccine yet exists to prevent further spread of the virus, the huge burden of developing a cure or at best, a treatment for this deadly virus rests squarely on the shoulders of the medical world, of which Nigeria is no exception.
“In a bid to discover a cure, therefore, the public has witnessed quite a number of claims from different quotas – complementary and alternative medicines practitioners, traditional healers, and the academia. It is pertinent to note, however, that these claims are domiciled in either the conventional news media or the social media.
“The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as at the time of this press release has only received application from one company for a product the company is presenting (for approval) to the Agency for the treatment of the symptoms of COVID-19, and not for the cure of COVID-19 as a disease. A claim of a cure must be subjected to clinical evaluation through well controlled, randomized clinical trials following an approved clinical trial protocol.”
According to her, Africa as a continent blessed with diverse plants and herbs that constitute a source of food and medicine is incontrovertible.
The drugs of today’s modern society, she said, are products of research and development by major pharmaceutical companies.
She said among the most important raw materials researched and developed are naturally occurring materials obtained especially from plants.
She said part of the efforts to advance herbal products development informed the setting up of the Nigerian herbal medicine product committee (HMPC) by her office.
The platform, she said, brings together manufacturers, academia, researchers and relevant stakeholders by bridging the gap often created between traditional medicine practitioners and drug manufacturers, whose responsibility it would be to formulate the products.