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Cure for COVID-19: There’s need for global collaboration – Prof Iwu

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Maurice Iwu…says ‘HerbFest 2020’  Expo proffers solution to that

By Chris Onuoha

Coronavirus, otherwise called COVID-19 is the latest in the series of viruses that have intermittently ravaged the world for a long time.

The virus that got to a pandemic level has affected, not only the health of the people globally, but equally shut down the entire global eco-system with many deaths and still counting.

While huge attention were focused on saving lives through social distancing and even total lockdown in virtually all the country of the world, efforts to contain the scourge through speedy medical intervention proves to be on a slow pace.

However, with the history of viruses and its adverse effect on both human and global system, scientific and orthodox medical approach to contain the virus from spreading seems far-fetched. This also culminates to series of hasty research into finding solution for each specific virus by conventional medical practitioners.

In all these, an entity that has vigorously pursued the cause to finding an early solution to any emerging virus remains the herbal research group. That is why the Congress of Herbal Medicine Products and Netraceuticals instituted an annual HerbFest Expo, under which recent findings and research products in herbal solutions to emerging virus cases and other tropical diseases are unveiled.

The 2020 edition of the annual herbal exhibition held on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, themed: “Herbal Medicine and Dietary Supplements for the Treatment of COVID-19” was virtually converged. No thanks to the social distancing protocol caused by the covid-19 scourge.

Eminent scientists and practitioners of herbal and orthodox medicine drawn from across the world participated in the program which also had as sub themes: “COVID-19: Challenges for Modern Medicine; IHP Detox: A Nigerian Herbal Medicine for the Treatment of COVID-19; Immunotherapy in the Management of Viral Infections; and “Artemisinin” as Possible Therapy in COVID-19.”

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The 11th edition of the All African Congress of Herbal Medicine Products and Nutraceuticals, organised by the Bioresources Development Group, in collaboration with Mateon Therapeutics of the United States of America, according to the organisers was meant to network and advocate for faster results in finding solution to the corona virus which will benefit humanity.

With the lead speaker, Professor Maurice Iwu, Chairman of Bioresources Development Group, issues of utmost important in finding quick solution to the covid-19 pandemic was discussed. The presentations by other renowned Scientists, that include Professors Isa Marte Hussaini,  Olukemi Abiodun Odukoya and Martins Emeje as well as those by Dr. Vuong Trieu, Saran Saund, Terra Reneau, Dr. G.Eleje and Dr. Michel Tchimene, centered on the theme and sub-themes of the Congress.

The characteristics of the corona virus, preventive measures, herbal and orthodox medicines already being used for the management of the disease as well as immune boosting plants and vitamins  were outlined by the speakers.

Speaking, the eminent Professor of Pharmacognosy, Professor Iwu, a former National Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in his earlier remarks, said that the 11th Edition of the premier All African Congress of Herbal Medicinal Products and Nutraceuticals is a sort of networking he is advocating would yield faster results and benefit humanity.

Prof Iwu also stated emphatically, that the collaboration between herbal and orthodox medicine practitioners at the national, continental and global levels is the key to the development of a cure for the coronavirus.

He also commended the ongoing collaboration between Bioresources Development Group and Mateon Therapeutics of the United States of America, and pledged participation in the efforts of Asili Research Alliance, noting that there must be harmonization of global efforts at development of a cure for the coronavirus.

Prof Iwu equally commended Nigeria’s National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, for playing the roles expected of it, stressing that there is need for a strong regulatory body that would ensure that all products are safe for consumption, appealing, however, that the agency should be a bit faster in its processes.

While reiterating that herbal medicines have many positive advantages, he stressed the need for standardization. Video presentations of the ‘IHP’ range of products by the Bioresources Group, already certified by NAFDAC and their efficacy in the management of COVID-19 were done during the program.

Prof Iwu confirmed that the plant materials for the IHP range of products are organically cultivated without pesticides, fertilizers. He also noted that some progress has been made in the efforts to evolve herbal remedies for the management, and eventually, the treatment of COVID-19, but added that every effort must be made to advance on the gains already made, with the collaboration to combine the best of both worlds, herbal and orthodox, to move forward to the ideal of the development of the cure for the coronavirus.

Also speaking, Terra Reneau who brought the international flavour into the exciting presentations invited participants to be part of the global project at Asili Research Alliance whose goals are to represent non-western medical perspectives, shift perspectives on herbal medicine within modernity and increase authorship inclusivity.

Dr. Vuong Trieu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mateon Therapeutics and Saran Saund, the Chief Business Officer of the San Francisco-based company gave vivid insights into the efforts being made by their organization to develop a cure that would be cost effective and wholesome.

Saund, specifically, encouraged a blend of ancient wisdom, represented by herbal medicine with the precision of science, restating the position of his CEO that they are already carrying out global trials of their developed medicine for COVID-19 in India, which have been successful so far, and that the trials would soon begin in Nigeria and Peru.

At the end of the session, Chinyere Douglas of the Bioresources Development Group rounded off the very informative Congress with a vote of thanks. Over 350 people registered online for the congress and over 169 participants were recorded at some point.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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