Madagascar COVID-19 herbal drug is for malaria - Ehanire

Nigeria's Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire,  has revealed that Madagascar's herbal remedy for Coronavirus is solely for the treatment of malaria.

Speaking during the Presidential Taskforce COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Ehanire said Nigeria has a plantation of the herbs. He added that the remedy was derived from artemisia which is a plant that is used to treat malaria.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had received portions of the drug from Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, in May and directed that the products be subjected to validation process.

Speaking further, Ehanire said the government had imported the plant (artemisia) some years ago in order to develop the production of Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapy (ACT) for anti-malaria.

He, however, said the process has not made much progress, adding that further research would be carried out on the plant to check its effectiveness in treating COVID-19. He said:

“Preliminary results of the analysis of the so-called Madagascar herbs or organics done by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) shows that it is the same as the plant called Artemisia anua, which is grown in the NIPRD farm in Abuja.

“Further research on its efficacy will be conducted when the grants for the research are approved. The so-called Madagascar herb is one component of the malaria treatment medicine.

“Some years ago, the government imported this plant and has a plantation of it in trying to develop its production of the artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).

“The plantation is still there, but the process has not gone that much further. We are looking into seeing what has held it up, but the plant is here; it was intended for producing anti-malarial, and the type we have here has a very high yield of artemisinin, which is the active ingredient.

“The species we have here have been tested and they have a very high concentration of artemisinin. To see whether it works against the coronavirus disease is what further research will have to bring.”

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