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Nigeria grows ‘Madagascar herb’ – health minister

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AN analysis of Madagascar’s ‘COVID Organics’ shows that the mixture contains largely anti-malarial constituents, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said on Thursday.

Besides, he said it was also discovered that Nigeria already has a plantation of the herbs.

The minister said relevant agencies will further evaluate the herb to determine its effectiveness in treating COVID-19.

Ehanire spoke during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing.

He said: “Preliminary results of the analysis of the so-called Madagascar herbs by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) shows that it is the same as the plant Artemisia anua, which is grown in the NIPRD farm.

“Further research on its efficacy will be conducted when the grants for research are approved.

“The so-called Madagascar herb is one component of the malaria treatment medicine.

“Some years ago, the government imported this plant and has a plantation of it in trying to develop its production of the artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).

“The plantation is still there, but the process has not gone that much further.

“We are looking into seeing what has held it up, but the plant is here; it was intended for producing anti-malarial, and the type we have here has a very high yield of artemisinin, which is the active ingredient.

“The species we have here have been tested and they have a very high concentration of artemisinin.

“To see whether it works against the coronavirus disease is what further research will have to bring.”

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