By SEGUN OLANIYI, Abuja
In a bid to find a home-grown solution for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu on Monday inaugurated the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) Ministerial Committee on Covid-19 herbal remedies and natural compounds.
Onu stated that COVID-19 remains a threat to the health and well-being of Nigerians and the national economy while reiterating that there is an urgent need to develop a home-grown remedy and vaccine to tackle it.
Speaking at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, he said the committee, made up of eminent scientists and fellows of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) is to authenticate claims by researchers, scientists, and traditional medical practitioners of cure and herbal remedy for COVID-19.
The minister urged members of the committee to vigorously scrutinize 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.”
According to him, the quest for a home-grown remedy for COVID-19 by the ministry is in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to diversify the economy.
He also added that the ministry is tirelessly working with all relevant stakeholders, particularly the Federal Ministry of Health, to find a solution to COVID-19.
Onu noted that Nigeria, with 172 other countries has been making frantic efforts for enhanced access to Covid-19 vaccines by participating in COVAX, a global initiative to provide worldwide access to safe and effective vaccines.
“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,” Onu noted.
Earlier, the Chairman of the ministerial committee and President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Emeritus Prof. Motso Onuoha said Nigerians have the capacity to find solutions to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the committee will work closely with all relevant stakeholders to scrutinize and verify claims on the cure for Covid-19.
Onuoha, however, appreciated the vigorous efforts of the ministers and the ministry to create a viable solution to the pandemic, stressing that the committee will work faithfully in discharging its duties and that the trust reposed on members of the committee would be justified. (The Guardian)