Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, on Monday inaugurated the FMST Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 herbal remedies and natural compounds.
The move is aimed at finding a home-grown cure for COVID-19.
Inaugurating the committee at the FMST’s headquarters in Abuja, the minister noted that COVID-19 remains a threat to the health and well-being of Nigerians and the nation’s economy and reiterated an urgent need to develop a home-grown remedy and vaccine to tackle it.
Onu said the committee, which is made up of eminent scientists and fellows of Nigerian Academy of Science, is to authenticate claims by researchers, scientists and traditional medical practitioners of cure and herbal remedy for COVID-19.
He urged members of the committee to vigorously scrutinise and evaluate all claims brought before it, adding that it should identify the remedies with the brightest prospects for providing protection and healing to affected persons or those at the risk of contracting the dreaded disease.
Onu said, “I have no doubt that the discovery of a cure for COVID-19 in Nigeria would enhance the standing of our dear nation in the comity of nations.
“It will also accord Nigerian scientists deserved recognition and help regenerate foreign exchange earnings for the nation as well as enable a knowledge economy that will facilitate economic growth and sustainable national development.”
The minister further noted that the quest for home-grown remedy for COVID-19 by the ministry was in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to diversify the economy.
Onu added that the ministry was working with all relevant stakeholders, particularly the Federal Ministry of Health, to find a solution to COVID-19.
According to him, Nigeria and 172 other countries are currently participating in COVAX, a global initiative aimed at providing worldwide access to safe and effective vaccines.
He noted COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio, including nine candidate vaccines; seven of which are currently in clinical trials, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with major producers.
Earlier, chairman of the ministerial committee and President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Motso Onuoha, said Nigerians have the capacity to find solutions to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Onuoha also said the committee will work closely with all relevant stakeholders to scrutinize and verify claims on the cure for disease.
He further appreciated the vigorous efforts of the ministers and the ministry towards creating a viable solution to the pandemic.