National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has cautioned researchers and other herbal medicine practitioners in the country to desist from parading unverified medicinal products as suitable for the cure of COVID-19 without the agency’s approval.
The director-general of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who stated this in a statement by the agency’s resident media consultant, Sayo Akintola, on Sunday, reiterated that the agency had not approved any herbal medicine for COVID 19 cure in the county.
She insisted that no single drug had been found yet to cure COVID-19, noting that medicinal products available now could only help ease symptoms and up the odds of survival.
‘’Without clinical trial authorised by NAFDAC, nobody can claim that a product can cure COVID-19. Of course, some people might have been using it and they got better, but without being approved scientifically and documented, we may not be able to guarantee that it’s safe for human consumption’’, she explained.
The DG also warned Nigerians against excessive consumption of onions and garlic with a view to curing COVID-19, saying, ‘’If you eat too much your breath will be smelling and nobody will want to stay by you.’’
She, however, admitted that onions or garlic or any of the natural fruits have antioxidant and nutrients that can help a person feel better.
She added that they may boost the immunity and the person may not be easily susceptible to infection, adding that ‘’Even with that you still have to protect yourself. If you eat garlic and onion and you don’t use mask you will get COVID-19. If you are in a very bad environment; if you don’t wash your hands, you will get COVID -19. So, everything has to be put together’’.
‘’University of Jos said that there was a herbal medicine, whether it’s tea or whatever, that can cure COVID – 19. They linked it with treatment of COVID -19. They did the packaging. We did a letter to warn them that they cannot claim something unless it has gone through our listing process.”
They were trying to sell it to their staff. That is violation of our own regulatory policies. Nobody should say that this one can cure this or that without going through NAFDAC listing process,” she said.
According to her, the research into herbal medicine by the academia is normal but ’It is now for the academia to also recognise the national regulatory authority established to safeguard the safety of the Nigerian populace by ensuring that the product that they are working on has to go through NAFDAC if they want to make it available for human consumption’’.
Adeyeye further disclosed that many herbal products have been submitted for federal government grants because most of the herbal practitioners lack the required wherewithal to do clinical trial.
‘’As we speak, many of these herbal products are being subjected to review by different agencies of government in the country. In terms of going through clinical trial official protocols, none has come through yet. That doesn’t mean they will not because the process is still on,” she said.