The Federal Government has intensified the search for indigenous solution to the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic by deepening commitment to Science Technology and Innovation, stressing that “no nation can depend entirely on outside help to meet the health challenges of her people.”
Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu made this known in a Virtual/Physical meeting with Scientists, Researchers and Traditional Medicine Practitioners, on claims of effectiveness of COVID-19 and Natural compounds, held in Abuja yesterday.
A statement issued yesterday by the Ministry noted that few weeks before COVID-19 was detected in Nigeria, Onu announced a price of N36 million to any Nigerian Scientists/Researcher who can develop a remedy to COVID-19 Pandemic. This he said was part of the strategy to galvanize the development of home grown solutions with the aim of protecting Nigerians against COVID-19 diseases.
In response to his call, many scientists made submission of their herbal remedies to Federal Ministry, which led to the inauguration of Inter-ministerial Committee of Experts on COVID-19 herbal remedies in the ministry.
The Minister stated that the essence of this was to review the claims and submissions by “our Scientists, Researchers and Traditional medicine Practitioners.”
The Outcome of the claims, Onu said, was resolved in selection of several herbal remedies for COVID-19, through the conduct of Clinical Trials, to agree and discuss on all claims.
The Minister also said that it was also at the meeting that global community has recorded significant progress in curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic through the cooperation of PFIZER, BIONTECH, Astra-Zeneca and host of others in developing vaccines which have proven efficacious in protecting against SARS-COVID-2 as well as its variants.
He stated that despite the disparities in percentage of vaccinating the rich and poor in the country, COVID -19 could not easily be won all over the world, showing that no nation can depend entirely on outside help to meet the health challenges of her people.
He therefore resolved to that Nigeria must develop the capacity, through research and innovation, to look after the health needs of Nigerians, the statement added.
“Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation FMSTI is committed to searching for indigenous solution to COVID-19 pandemic, which remains 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 home grown vaccine, to ensure that our people are protected,” he said even as he pledged support to the indigenous researchers and scientists.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Science and Technology and Innovation, Muhammed Abdullahi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Etah Akpan, lauded the Minister for his initiative, support and leadership towards the development of a home grown solution for the treatment and management of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and beyond.
He also commended the efforts of the scientists and researchers as well as herbal practitioners for their efforts at finding solution towards COVID-19.