The Nigerian government says the Madagascar COVID-19 herb syrup did not show any evidence that it has real curative properties against COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this in Abuja at the 52nd Joint National Briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19, News Agency of Nigeria reports.
According to him, the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), has shared its final report on the evaluation of the COVID Organics from Madagascar.
He said that the initial report showed that its main ingredient is the same as Artemisia annua.
"While the preparation at high dose showed activity in reducing the frequency of cough, it did not show any evidence that it has real curative properties against COVID-19.
"However, we shall continue to support all genuine efforts toward finding local COVID-19 cures," Ehanire said.
The minister also said that COVID-19 cases recorded daily over the past weeks now fluctuate within the 500 to 700 bracket, with 543 new cases in the past 24 hours.
"Accordingly, the nation's confirmed total number in Nigeria so far is 38,344, of which 15,815 were successfully treated and discharged.
"We have regrettably recorded 813 fatalities, mostly with co-morbidities and tested a total of 247,825 persons in all.
"We can rightly assume from the exponentially increasing numbers that the pool of potentially infectious persons in the community is rising," he said.
He, however, commended persons of influence in society, who tested positive for COVID-19 and came out publicly to declare it.
Ehanire noted that those concerned did the nation a lot of good by showing that there was no shame and nothing to hide about COVID-19, and they also contributed immensely to building confidence in the health system.
While commending the nation's health care providers for their efforts, the minister said despite this, the focus was still on prevention, being better and cheaper than cure.
Ehanire said that the Federal Ministry of Health, through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), now had 59 molecular diagnostic laboratories for COVID-19 tests activated.
He added that with a little improvement in logistics, lack of availability of testing capacity should not be a tenable excuse any more.
Speaking on some of the seemingly confusing symptoms of COVID-19, the minister said that although COVID-19 could present with symptoms like fever, similar to malaria, "it is not malaria".
"Symptoms like cough, sore throat, fever, loss of sense of taste or smell, difficulty in breathing, headache, and less commonly, diarrhoea, body pain, catarrh, shivering, fatigue, especially when several symptoms occur together, are suggestive of COVID-19.
"A test is required," the health minister advised.