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How a Nigeria-based Catholic Medical Centre is Responding to COVID-19 Search for Cure

Fr Anselm Adodo, Founder Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories (Paxherbals) with some staff of the Nigeria-based Centre.

As medical practitioners across the globe seek to understand the new coronavirus and engage in finding a cure, a Nigeria-based Catholic medical center that develops and promotes the use of “African medicine” is responding to this search by proposing a herbal drug as a possible cure for COVID-19.

Established in 1996 by the Oblates of St. Benedictines (OSB) in Nigeria’s Ewu city in Edo State, Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories (Paxherbals) is behind the initiative.

“Paxherbals has developed a novel drug, called CVD PLUS specifically for the treatment of COVID-19,” the Clinic's founder, Fr. Anslem Adodo announced in a press release dated April 29. 

The drug “contains herbs and active phytoconstituents with documented scientific evidence based on clinical reports of their efficacy and safety,” the Benedictine Cleric stated.

He also indicated that the drug was developed by working with scientists from other institutions of higher learning, including those from the University of Benin, the University of Lagos and Irrua teaching hospital in Nigeria’s Edo State.

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The process of developing the drug has also received support from various Nigerian government agencies, which Fr. Anslem acknowledged in his April 29 statement, including the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), and NAFDAC, the country’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control.

“We are happy to note that NAFDAC is ready to speed up the drug regulation, evaluation and approval process of CVD PLUS,” the Benedictine monk stated and clarified, “The Nigerian law does not permit the use of any drug or medicine by the public unless it has passed through some basic processes of standardization and scientific evaluation, in line with global practices.”

“Anyone or any organization who claims to have a cure for any disease is expected to submit the product for critical screening and scientific analysis. No sentiments. No cultural bias. No subjectivism,” the Benedictine Cleric further stated.

Nigerian health authorities have approved 3 products from Paxherbals recommended for the management of many of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, he disclosed in his statement.

To enhance its research capabilities, Paxherbals created a research team, bringing together exogenous (pharmacists, botanists, pharmacologists, microbiologists, laboratory scientists and plant scientists) and the indigenous (traditional birth attendants, bone setters, local taxonomists, village historians, and chemists).

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“These herbs have been used in several therapeutic formulations of Paxherbals over the past 25 years for the treatment of hepatitis C, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, and Malaria,” Fr. Anslem further stated.

He added, “Some bioactive constituents of CVD PLUS are potential antiviral agents and immunomodulatory agents that can stimulate antibody production against Coronavirus related diseases.”

In the statement, the Benedictine Cleric who has studied herbalism for over 30 years noted that although “plant-based formulations are easily manufactured, stored and distributed and are readily acceptable by the local population,” the development of a new generation of a vaccine “for combating emergent diseases needs time because of safety profiling.”

In his considered view, “Plant-based drugs, whether crude or refined, are seemingly the best alternative approach to the COVID-19 menace.”

Fr. Anselm also stated that “herbal remedies can easily be handled by both professional and non-medical research personnel with no risk of contamination.”

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The statement by the Nigeria-based Benedictine medical practitioners follows that from the Cameroonian Archbishop Samuel Kleda known for his practice of herbalism for over 30 years. He has received unprecedented public attention in the central African nation over COVID-19 intervention. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is currently no treatment specifically approved for COVID-19 as treatments and vaccines are currently under study. In handling COVID-19 patients, medical practitioners have focused on managing symptoms as the virus runs its course. With over 3 million people having contracted the disease across the globe, at least 900,000 patients have recovered from the virus, according to reports.