Susanta Pahari, a Professor of Biochemistry at Skyline University Nigeria (SUN), has stated that the Nigerian Government could take a go-getter initiative in revamping the vaccine production capacity in the Country by taking a cue from the menace of recent global pandemic of Covid- 19. He made this suggestion while presenting in his keynote address at the 1st Chemistry International Conference, Workshop, and Exhibition session, organized by the Department of Chemistry, School of Science Education of the Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso, Kano State, on 28th June 2021.
Prof. Susanta, who spoke on the theme of the conference, “Drug discovery as a panacea to extinguishing the pandemism and epidemism of the infectious diseases”, stated that the efficacy and safety of all genre of Traditional Medicines, needs to be tested and validated through rigorous clinical trial before its administered to patient. As he pointed out, repurposing these traditional medicines as a cure for Covid- 19 lacks clinical evidence.
As far as Sub-Saharan Africa, he remarked that herbal remedies are often co-administered alone or combined with allopathic drugs and many of these plant-based medicines have since been informally repurposed by various users for COVID-19 prevention and symptomatic management as simple home remedies. Two other phytomedical remedies from Cameroon (Elixir COVID and Adsak COVID) have been developed from undisclosed indigenous plants that have been claimed to reverse the effect of COVID-19, clear the virus from patients’ body fluid, etc.
While stating that there are still deficiencies in the clinical research evidence on the integration of traditional medical treatment for Covid- 19, mainly embodying a small sample size, absence of a control group, etc. He added that employing a standardized randomized controlled trial (RCT) will produce more convincing scientific evidence to prescribe traditional medicines in the cure for Covid- 19.
On the role that Government can play, he applauded the Nigerian government through the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for subjecting not less than 21 herbal formulations for clinical trial and observing the outcome.