The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has inaugurated a Ministerial Committee on herbal remedies and natural compounds towards developing a homegrown treatment for COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee has eminent scientists and Fellows of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) as members.
Onu explained that the committee was set up to authenticate claims by researchers, scientists and traditional medicine practitioners on herbal remedies, natural compounds and non-pharmaceutical items for the treatment of the disease.
He said that his ministry was making efforts toward the development of local remedy that could be deployed for the protection of Nigerians against the disease.
“We wish to reiterate that we promised N30 million financial reward to any Nigerian researcher, scientist or traditional medicine practitioner that develop an effective vaccine or cure for the disease.
“It is important to note that this promise was made on Feb. 13, 2020, two weeks before the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Nigeria on Feb. 27, 2020,’’ Onu said.
Onu charged the committee to vigorously scrutinise and evaluate all claims brought before it with a view to identifying remedies and natural compounds with the brightest prospects.
He said that the quest for a homegrown remedy for COVID-19 was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to diversify the economy.
The minister emphasised that COVID-19 remains a significant threat to the health and well-being of Nigerians as well as the economy, hence the need to develop a homegrown remedy or vaccine for the disease.
Professor Emeritus Mosto Onuoha, Chairman of the committee, promised not to let Nigerians down.