Wednesday, 6th December 2023

ABUAD herbal virucidine: The day God smiled from heaven

By Tunde Olofintila
28 April 2023   |   3:18 am
When Scientists from the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) and other stakeholders converged in the hallowed bowel of the NIMR Auditorium on April 18, 2023, little did anyone know that it would be a day...

Afe Babalola University (ABUAD)

When Scientists from the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) and other stakeholders converged in the hallowed bowel of the NIMR Auditorium on April 18, 2023, little did anyone know that it would be a day that would be greeted with different pleasant observations, effusive praises and commendable reactions.

It is a notorious fact that different people react to different stimuli in various ways, depending on their state of mind and/or their professional callings. This may have informed the way the Chairman of Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board, Prof. Adebukunola Adefule-Ositelu, reacted to the presentation of the ABUAD Herbal Virucidine Liquid.

In her goodwill message after listening to the presentations by Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Ayodele Ajayi, a member of the Board of Trustees in charge of Research, Prof. Olaposi Omotuyi, ABUAD’s Director of Research and Development, Prof. Adefule-Ositelu simply went spiritual when she said: “With what Baba Afe Babalola and his University have done to make this country proud, this is a day I can visualise the Almighty God smiling from heaven.”

Relating her pleasant and reassuring experiences with herbal formulations over the years which have kept her standing till today, she added: “I am so happy that this is happening before our very eyes today. With what we have seen here today, what we need is to collaborate, work together and begin to develop our various herbal formulations into effective medications.

“This is the time for us to rethink and unite. This is the time we need to change our attitude and graduate away from our brainwashed position that using our herbal formulations is fetish and occultic. We need to promote our own because if we don’t, nobody will do it for us.

“This is the time for us to reconsider our parameters because we cannot continue to live by the standard of others. When those who colonised us came, they thought they would be seeing dead bodies everywhere on the streets. But they were shocked when they met life, peace and abundance in our midst, which they later messed up.

“We must appreciate from today that when we stand firm on our feet, we will remain unshakable because we know of a fact that we are not in anyway inferior to any race or people, we are all born equal. However, we need to value ourselves because we are very valuable. Enough of colonialism. God
has created us great.”

Shortly after the deadly COVID-19 made an incursion into the world and ravaged the globe for a better part of 2020 and changed the educational, political and economic as well as the medical equations of the world, Scientists in ABUAD went to work and came up with the Herbal Virucidine Liquid which Medical Research Regulatory Authorities such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and NIMR have endorsed as safe, effective and tolerable against COVID-19.

Earlier at the public presentation of the herbal formulation in NIMR, Salako urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to look inwards and exploit available expertise and collaborations towards developing indigenous solutions and producing effective products to tackle the country’s numerous health challenges.

The NIMR boss recalled that an independent evaluation of the safety and efficacy of the ABUAD herbal mixture which had earlier been approved by NAFDAC as a herbal immune booster and antioxidant, showed that it has potential to be registered as a treatment for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) 

His words: “We want to make people aware of the success that we have made, especially as the drug that we are looking at is home-grown. So, it is like the Nigerian home-grown solution for a disease that has ravaged the world. 

“Even though we are at a preliminary stage, our findings show that this is very promising and what we need to do is to move on to the next stage which is to conduct the same study in larger number of people, and it is afterwards that the Regulatory Agency will be confident to register it as a treatment for COVID-19.

“For now, we see it as a promising drug. What we can say today is that we have a herbal therapy that is looking promising and requires further tests. The Phase 1 and early Phase 2 trials were done here. What we have been doing in Nigeria is the Phase 3 trials because we haven’t been developing our own drugs in the past years. 

Introducing the herbal product, the Director, Institute for Drug Research & Development (IDRD), S.E. Bogoro Centre, ABUAD, Professor Olaposi Omotuyi, said the ABUAD Virucidine Liquid was submitted for research in Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CRTCAM) for acute and sub-acute toxicity study and also the NIMR for further testing.

Giving details of the formulation, Omotuyi said the medication is composed of 85% Kalanchoe pinnata concentrate, traditionally used for the management of various ailments in South-Western Nigeria and reputed to have some antiviral activities, 5%Ethanol and 10% deionized water.

According to him, the significant of the product is that Nigerian do not need to wait on the Western world to solve their problems, especially as it concerns healthcare.

He said, ‘’Everyone in the world is looking for a drug to cure COVID-19 and Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, in Nigeria, is one of the major universities that developed something for virus. We gave it to research institutes to test for us and that is what NIMR has done.’’

He described the certification as a confirmation of the efficacy of research work on-going in ABUAD, as he further assured that the university is ready to launch the production of the Virucidine Liquid on a massive scale.

A Professor of Therapeutics & Pharmacology, Omotuyi said the ABUAD Virucidine Liquid could be safely taken by anyone. 

“Those who have been vaccinated can also take it for protection from any kind of sudden illness. Virucidine is just a tip of what can come out of ABUAD, this is telling the possibility and the capacity available and the Federal Government can come and partner with ABUAD for development in areas of indigenous solution.”

In a presentation of the Proof-of-Concept clinical trial of the ABUAD herbal liquid, the Deputy Director of Research, NIMR, Dr Agatha David, said out of 72 participants screened for the trials, 44 enrolled, and 43 (97.7 per cent) of the enrolled participants completed the study. 

“The main symptoms at enrolment were cough (65.0 per cent), fever (55.8 per cent), and sore throat (46.5 per cent). A higher proportion of participants in the Virucidine arm were SARS-CoV-2 negative by Day 3 (61.5 per cent and by Day 7 92.3 per cent were negative. 

“All participants were SARS-CoV-2 negative by Day 14. A significantly higher proportion of participants on Virucidine were also symptom free by Day 7 compared to the control group (88.5 percent versus 52.9 per cent). 

“The findings also revealed that the ABUAD Virucidine Liquid was well tolerated and there were no serious adverse events, clinical deterioration or death through the 28 days of follow-up,” David noted. 

Like Pro Adebukunola Adefule-Ositelu said that bright Tuesday afternoon, the Almighty God did not only smile at the research accomplishment of ABUAD, He has continued and will continue to smile at ABUAD and its warren of compliments.
Olofintila is the Director, Corporate Affairs of ABUAD.