The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has restated its commitment to deploying an indigenous solution to tackle the novel COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, made this known during a virtual/physical meeting with scientists, researchers and traditional medicine practitioners, on claims of effectiveness of COVID-19 and natural compounds in Abuja, saying no nation can depend entirely on outside help to meet the health challenges of her people.
Onu recalled that a few weeks before COVID-19 was detected in Nigeria, he announced a prize of N36million to any Nigerian scientists or researcher who can develop a remedy for the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, he said, was a part of the strategy to galvanise the development of home-grown solutions to protect Nigerians against COVID-19 diseases.
In response to his call, many scientists submitted their herbal remedies to FMSTI, which lead to the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee of Experts on COVID-19 Herbal Remedies.
Onu stated that the essence of this was to review the claims and submissions by the nation’s scientists, researchers and traditional medicine practitioners.
The outcome of the claims, Onu said, was resolved in the selection of several herbal remedies for COVID-19, through the conduct of clinical trials, to agree and discuss all claims.
The minister also said that it was also at the meeting, that the global community has recorded significant progress in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through the cooperation of Pfizer, BioNTech, Astra-Zeneca and a host of others in developing vaccines that have proven efficient in protecting against SARS-COVID-2 as well as its variants.
Onu stated that despite that the disparities in the percentage of vaccinating the rich and poor in the country, COVID -19 could not easily be defeated all over the world.
This, he said, clearly showed that no nation can depend entirely on outside help to meet the health challenges of its people.
He, therefore, resolved to say that Nigeria must develop the capacity, through research and innovation, to look after the health needs of Nigerians.
“FMSTI is committed to searching for an indigenous solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, which remains a substantial threat to the health of the people.
“Again, Nigeria needs to find the best way to harness local expertise and resources in the development of a home-grown vaccine, to ensure that our people are protected,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Science and Technology and Innovation, Barr. Muhammed Abdullahi, who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr. Etah Akpan, thanked Onu for his initiative, support and leadership towards the development of a homegrown solution for the treatment and management of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and beyond, while he also commended the efforts of the scientist and researchers, as well as herbal practitioners for their efforts at finding solutions towards COVID-19.