More than two weeks after the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the COVID-Organics medicine had been handed over to three agencies under his supervision, no timeline had been given to Nigerians as to when an official response would be given on the efficacy of the formula.
SaharaReporters reached out to two of these agencies – National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development but received no concrete update.
“We are still working on it,” the DG of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, told SaharaReporters.
“I cannot give you an update but we are working on it,” she added.
Mrs Adeyeye had said in a television interview before the drug was sent to NAFDAC that it would take two weeks for the agency to determine if the drug was fit for purpose.
She said the agency would carry out a toxicity test to observe the side effects of the medicine and a microbial examination to note if the ailment the medicine was to treat would develop resistance to the healing compounds in the formula.
On May 19 when this interview was likely held, Madagascar had recorded one death from COVID-19 but she ruled out the possibility of the drug being ineffective as a result of that.
Madagascar has now reported 10 deaths and 384 recoveries from 1,290 cases, leaving 896 persons or 69 per cent of the total infected population in treatment centres.
In Nigeria, 10,885 or 65 per cent of the 16,658 persons, who have been infected with the virus, are receiving treatment.
Compared to the ten deaths in Madagascar, Nigeria has recorded 424 but has a higher rate of recovered patients, with 5,349 persons or 32 per cent of the infected population recovering.
Madagascar, however, has a recovery rate of 30 per cent.
Dr Ehanire had said on Monday, May 25 that samples of COVID-Organics would be sent to NAFDAC and NIPRD on Wednesday, May 27.
On Friday, May 29, he confirmed that both agencies had received the drug, adding that samples would also be sent to the National Institute of Medical Research, Yaba.
Eighteen days after May 27, SaharaReporters reached out to the DG of NIPRD, Obi Peter Adigwe.
He asked that a text be sent to him but he has yet to respond when this report was written.