AS the Federal Government has embraced the Madagascar syrup, Covid Organics CVO, for the treatment of COVID-19, a Parasitologist, Prof. Wellington Oyibo, has advised that there is need to recognise traditional medicines that could to be used in treating the coronavirus in Nigeria.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Wednesday, Oyibo, Chairman, D. K. Olukoya Central Research Laboratory, University of Lagos, Akoka, adviced that the potentials of local medicines should be harnessed urgently.
According to Oyibo, “it is noteworthy that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered for the Madagascar syrup for the treatment of COVID-19. This is welcome, considering the acceptance of an African product at this time.”
But he noted that “given our peculiarities,” government should look inward to harness the nation’s natural potentials to find solutions to the pandemic.”
He explained that with better understand of the pathophysiology of the disease, “immunity boosting has come out clearly from several accessible remedies from natural sources. We also understand the inflammatory diseases and the safe, well-tolerated natural remedies that we have used over the years.
“We have patients and doing a clinical trial on how these could support patient management should not be a problem, when a well-designed protocol is developed and implemented along existing standard of care.
“However, these have not been fully considered as we only want to do trials on medicines that others have done trials on.”
The parasitologist advised that research, development and manufacturing grants should be provided for the development of home-grown natural remedies, as “that is how we can protect ourselves and even grow our economy at this time.”
The professor commended Madagascar for coming up with a regime and urged the Federal Government to tap into its resources, stressing that Nigeria has knowledgeable professors of pharmacognosy, who had the know how to quickly harness these formulations.
According to the parasitologist, the pandemic was happening at several dimensions that the country could respond nicely to, in terms of product and service development and re-engineering.
Processes can be slow, he said, “but we can begin to draw our risk mitigation plans from the body of experts in several disciplines and how the manufacturing sector can respond in times of emergency like this.
“The country’s infrastructure is so weak and unable to respond to, for example, repurposing of production units to provide essential needs for Nigerians.
“The risk of business owners, especially manufacturers, has been so high and they need support to help their growth and future capacity to respond in times of dire needs.
“It is not in times of war you learn skills for war. You do this when there is peace and you have more responsive systems.’’
He called on government to engage in critical planning at different levels to address the post-COVID-19 pandemic while looking at the pandemic’s effect on the health, educational, manufacturing, business and transport/logistics sectors.