Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday received samples of a herbal concoction that Madagascar claims can cure people infected with the new coronavirus, his office said.
Buhari who collected the potion from President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau who visited him in Abuja said the native remedy would be scientifically tested before use.
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“We have our institutions, systems and processes in the country. Any such formulations should be sent to them for verification," he said.
“I will not put it to use without the endorsement of our institutions,” he added.
My position regarding all herbal or traditional medicines is that any such formulations should be sent to the statutory regulators for thorough scientific verification. We will not put anything to use in Nigeria without the endorsement of our regulatory institutions.— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) May 16, 2020
The virus has so far infected 5,445 people and claimed 171 lives in Africa's most populous nation of 200 million inhabitants.
Several other African nations have also expressed interest in the purported remedy, which is known as Covid-Organics.
The drink is derived from artemisia -- a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment -- and other indigenous herbs.
But the World Health Organization has warned against “adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy”, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has also said it should be “tested rigorously”.
Madagascar leader Andry Rajoelina on Monday dismissed criticisms against the herbal concoction, saying the West was against it because it was discovered in Africa.
Madagascar's official body in charge of drug control has not approved the drink for sale in the country.