The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja inaugurated a six-man Working Group to carry out research on the treatment of Ebola virus.
The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, inaugurated the committee co-chaired by Prof. Karniyus Gamanie, Director-General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRID), Abuja.
The other co-chair is the Director-General of Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, Prof Innocent Ujah.
Mr. Chukwu said there was no known cure for the Ebola infection nationwide at present, adding that there was “no scientific evidence’’ that eating `bitter kola’, could cure Ebola infection.
The minister was referring to media reports that suggested bitter kola could cure Ebola infection based on a research conducted by a Pharmacognosist and former Chairman of INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu.
The minister, who acknowledged the internationally acclaimed research of Iwu, also named him as one of the members of the committee.
“We have taken note that Iwu’s research has not been concluded. We also feel that in addition to mass enlightenment, we should not neglect the issue of research on Ebola disease.” he said.
Mr. Chukwu said researches were going on across laboratories worldwide on vaccines for the treatment of the virus.
He gave the terms of reference of the committee to include: “conducting research into the treatment of the Ebola virus.
He said the committee should receive and verify claims relating to the treatment of the disease, including uncompleted researches carried out in 1999 in the U.S by Iwu and his team.
The team, he said, should collate and analyse related research findings worldwide, adding that the committee was free to collaborate with similar centres around the world in the discharge of its mandates.
He also said the committee was also expected to advice government on appropriate measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
Other members of the committee are the Project Coordinator for Nigeria Center for Disease Control, the Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health and the Director of Health Planning, Research and Statistics.
The minister said the committee could recruit technical persons to assist it in its work.
In his response, Gamanie thanked the minister for the privilege to serve in the committee and pledged that the committee would do its best to discharge its duties. (NAN)