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Maurice Iwu, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says his team has developed a potential treatment for coronavirus disease.
Iwu is a Nigerian Professor of Pharmacognosy and he was appointed Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in June 2005, and was removed from office in April 2010.
Iwu is currently the chief executive officer of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION), a research organisation, said his team had worked on solutions to the virus since 2015.
He said this when he led members of his team to Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, and Ogbonnaya Onu, his science and technology counterpart, in Abuja on Monday.
Iwu commended the federal government for the efforts to find a cure to the deadly virus.
“Honourable Minister, Sir, I am here to formally brief you about our drug discovery project, which has led to the identification of a potential treatment agent for Coronavirus infections,” he said.
“Your Excellency will recall that when the Ebola virus infection broke out in 2014 many people were surprised that our research group had an experimental lead compound that was identified 15 years earlier in 1999.
“And now with the emergence of a novel Coronavirus in 2019 as Covid-19 we had identified and patented a possible treatment back in 2015. It is very important that we must remain ahead of these emergent infections through research.
“We have under consideration possible dosage forms including a combination product formulation of the three agents (Rhygyfyn) described in our patents as broad spectrum antiviral drug, identified and developed here in Nigeria.
“We are set to introduce the products but our only limitation is finance. As you well know, science is a very expensive undertaking. I will like to plead with you to use your good office to kindly appeal to Nigerians for their support.”
Pharmacognosy is the study of plants or other natural sources as a possible source of drugs. The American Society of Pharmacognosy defines pharmacognosy as “the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of drugs, drug substances or potential drugs or drug substances of natural origin as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources”.
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