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The Federal Government on Thursday said that findings from the analysis of Madagascar’s herb called ‘COVID Organics’ show the mixture contains largely anti-malaria constituents.
It said that although the plant component of the herb grows in Nigeria and is of a higher efficacy for treating malaria, relevant government agencies will continue the process of evaluation to determine its effectiveness in treating COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, made this known in Abuja during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He said: “Preliminary results of the analysis of the so-called Madagascar herbs by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) show that it is the same as the plant Artemisia anua, which is grown in the NIPRD farm. Further research on its efficacy will be conducted when the grants for research is approved.
“The so-called Madagascar herb is one component of the malaria treatment medicine. Some years ago, the government actually imported this plant and has a plantation of it in trying to develop its own 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 actually 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.
“What is clear is that the Madagascar’s herb has been identified that it contains largely this artemisia anua and other things were found in the product including the bark of a tree and other things which may have been thought to be impurities that came along with it.”