An investigation conducted by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has revealed that there is no evidence that the widely celebrated Madagascar drug can cure COVID-19.
However, the institute said that it had one product that was showing a lot of promise, having passed through the pre-clinical studies and was being packaged for a clinical trial.
According to NIPRID, “If things all come together and we get the needed funding, within the next six months, we should be able to have something categorical within.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on May 16, 2020, received the Madagascan native formulation against the COVID-19 from President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau during which he reiterated that he would listen to science before allowing traditional or any new medicines to be administered on Nigerians.
The Madagascar formulation, which is being speculated to have the potency to kill coronavirus, has been a subject of controversy. The Federal Government, after receiving the herbal formula, directed NIPRD to investigate the efficacy and safety and advice it appropriately.
According to the summary of the report on its findings submitted to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, by NIPRID in Abuja, “COVID ORGANICS – Green Pack (GPA) and Orange Pack (OPB) herbal products contain Artemisia annua as one of the components and both samples had the characteristic features of Artemisia annua similar to those of the plant grown in NIPRD.”
The report noted that COVID ORGANICS contain other plants in addition to Artemisia annua but the proportion of Artemisia annua in the product is higher than that of the other plant component(s).
NIPRD found that 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.
“The HPLC and TLC profile of COVID ORGANICS products indicated the presence of artemisinin. Artemisinin was detected in the hot water infusion of the COVID ORGANICS products at a very low concentration and undetectable in one of the products. Hence, preparing the infusion as directed on the label produced very little artemisinin. Safety studies show that COVID ORGANICS (CVO) products do not alter the normal physiology of the animals,” the report read in part.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has tested positive for COVID-19 and has consequently gone on isolation.
This was made known by the minister yesterday through his Twitter handle.
Onyeama posted on Saturday: “Did my fourth COVID-19 test yesterday at the first sign of throat irritation and unfortunately, this time, it came back positive.
“That is life. Win some, lose some. “Heading for isolation in a health facility and praying for the best.”
At press time, it was not known where the minister will isolate himself and whether any member of his family also tested positive for the virus.