The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has said that its analysis of the Madagascar herb did not show any evidence that the herb could cure COVID-19.
Director-General of the agency, Dr Obi Adigwe made the disclosure in Abuja during an interview with newsmen.
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He said: “The Minister of Health gave us the mandate to find out if COVID Organics (CVO) can cure COVID-19, and we did not get any evidence that it can. This is because our analysis shows there is no evidence that it can cure COVID-19.”
The President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina had in April this year touted a herbal formula which he said had cured his people of COVID-19.
He said the herbal remedy tagged ‘COVID-Organics'(CVO) was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research and that “All trials and tests have been conducted and its effectiveness in reducing the elimination of symptoms has been proven for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 in Madagascar.”
President Muhammadu Buhari in May directed airlifting of Nigeria’s allocation of the Madagascar syrup into the country. The president thereafter received samples of the formulation on 16 May promising to subject it to verification in the country’s relevant agencies.
Asked the reason for different result findings from Madagascar, Dr Adigwe said Madagascar was hiding its analysis of the product.
“The analysis we gave in our report is more detailed than anything they had from their country. They are hiding the analysis of their own product. If you go online, you cannot get the level of analysis that we gave.
“They are hiding a lot of things and I think it is possible that they know that they don’t have strong science backing up their claim. But our own analysis does not show any proof that it can cure COVID-19.”
Adigwe said NIPRID was working on a product for the virus and that it has shown a lot of promise.
“We have finished pre-clinical studies. We are now trying to package it for the clinical trial and that is a great deal of work.”
He, however, said that the agency has not gotten any funding for the product research till date, adding that if the agency gets the requisite funds, it could present something worthwhile in the next six months.
A copy of NIPRID’s report on the investigation on the Madagascar herb obtained by Daily Trust showed that its findings include among others:
“ COVID Organics- Green Pack (GPA) and Orange Pack (OPB) herbal products contain Artemisia annua as one of the components. Both samples had the characteristic features of Artemisia annua similar to those of the plant grown in NIPRD.
COVID Organsics (OPB and GPA) contains other plants in addition to Artemisia annua.
“Unlike the impression created by the labelling, the two COVID Organics products are not the same with GPA sweeter with a higher extractive value than OPB.
“Safety studies show that COVID ORGANICS (CVO) products do not alter the normal physiology of the animals.
“CVO reduced cough frequency with the maximum dose tested producing an effect equivalent to that produced by the centrally
acting cough-suppressant, dihydrocodeine.
“ While CVO dose-dependently reduced general febrile response, the effect was not sustained and was less than for indomethacin.”