COVID-Organics, a herbal tea being touted as a cure for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has been sent to Nigerian research institutions for observation.

Nigeria received five cartons of samples of the herbal tea last month before they were handed over to the Ministry of Health.

While speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the samples have been sent to various research institutions to investigate the claims.

He said samples were sent to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The minister said, "The timeline for delivery is not something you can give anybody in research because they have processes which they have to go through and they will not all be reporting at the same time.

"The work that NAFDAC has to do will be different from what NIPRD has to do, and probably different from what NIMR has to do.

"So, there's no timeline, what we're doing is waiting to hear. We might get preliminary findings, but we've not got that yet."

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says Nigerian institutions will determine the effectiveness of the herbal tea for the treatment of the coronavirus disease [Twitter/@NCDCgov]
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says Nigerian institutions will determine the effectiveness of the herbal tea for the treatment of the coronavirus disease [Twitter/@NCDCgov]

Nigeria has recorded 10,578 coronavirus cases in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as of June 1, and recorded 299 fatalities.

The minister has previously stressed that COVID-Organics will not be used as coronavirus treatment in the country until it has been confirmed to be safe for consumption, and works for the purpose that has been claimed.

The herbal tea has attracted controversy since it was launched in April by Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina who claims it has cured people infected by the novel disease.

The herbal tea, produced by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA), was created from the Artemisia plant which has been used in malaria drugs.

Even though Madagascar's national medical academy has warned that no scientific evidence has been established that COVID-Organics works, the government already distributed the herbal tea to citizens and shipped samples to other African countries.

The herbal tea has not undergone any scientific testing recognised internationally, and has raised concerns from the World Health Organisation (WHO).