The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Monday said the Federal Government and the World Health Organisation were carrying out COVID-19 drug trial in the Federal Capital Territory and fives states.
Ehanire, who disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing in Abuja, listed the states as Lagos, Ogun, Kaduna, Sokoto and Kano.
The minister confirmed that Nigeria was expecting a herbal drug, COVID Organic, from Madagascar. The drug was reported to have been used by the Indian Ocean island country to cure patients, who tested positive for COVID-19.
Also, the PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the President, Muhammadu Buhari, had directed the airlifting of COVID Organic to Nigeria.
However, both Ehanire and Mustapha said the herbal drug would be subjected to scientific analyses in the country.
According to them, the drug will only be used in Nigeria after it has been confirmed to be safe and working.
The WHO had said it had not approved the use of the drug, but Madagascar President, Andry Rajoelina, slammed the organisation for not endorsing it.
“If it were a European country which had discovered this remedy, would there be so many doubts?,’’ Rajoelina had asked in an exclusive interview with France 24, a Paris-based international television news network.
He added, “The problem is that it comes from Africa. And they cannot accept that a country like Madagascar, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, has discovered this formula to save the world.”
But at the PTF press briefing on Monday, Nigeria’s health minister explained the Federal Government’s efforts to combat the virus.
He said senior officials of the Federal Ministry of Health held a video meeting with Chinese medical and academic experts in Beijing on Monday to seek further treatment strategies from China.
According to him, Nigeria is taking part in the WHO solidarity international clinical trial, which is aimed at finding an effective treatment for COVID-19.
The trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improves survival.
He stated, “On the WHO treatment, the Federal Government is cooperating with the WHO on treatment regimen solidarity trial with the following enrolled; Lagos, FCT, Ogun, Kaduna, Sokoto and Kano.”
He also spoke on strange deaths in Kano, Sokoto and Bauchi states.