The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, on Monday inaugurated a ministerial committee on herbal remedies and natural compounds, as part of efforts to develop a home-grown treatment for COVID-19 pandemic.
Onu said that the committee, which comprised eminent scientists and Fellows of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), would authenticate claims on the treatment of the disease.
He said that the committee was particularly set up to validate claims by researchers, scientists and traditional medicine practitioners on herbal remedies, natural compounds and non-pharmaceutical items for the treatment of coronavirus.
He said that his ministry was making efforts toward the development of local remedies that could be used to protect 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 can 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 Feb. 27, 2020 when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The minister charged the committee to vigorously scrutinise and evaluate all claims brought before it, with a view to identifying efficacious remedies and natural compounds with the brightest prospects.
He said that the quest for a home-grown remedy for COVID-19 was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to diversify the economy.
He stressed that COVID-19 remained a significant threat to the health and well-being of Nigerians as well as the nation’s economy, adding that there was, therefore, a compelling need to develop a home-grown remedy or vaccine for the disease.
The chairman of the committee, Prof. Mosto Onuoha, who is a Professor Emeritus, promised that the committee would not let Nigerians down in the assignment.