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More evidence are emerging on why death and infections by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will continue to be low in Africa and indeed Nigeria.

In fact, researchers have demonstrated that a combination of several natural products and herbs such as black seed, Artemisia annua, aspirin, vitamin D3, zinc, honey, cloves, salt water and charcoal could be used to prevent and treat COVID-19.

According to a study published in the journal, The Nigerian Medical Practitioner, contrary to the projections of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Western countries, Africa will not be devastated by COVID-19.

The study is titled, “Death and Infections by Coronavirus (SARS CoV2) Will Continue to be Low in Africa.” The researchers from the Department of Pharmacology, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, said the testing levels in Africa are far below those in Europe and United States, which may be responsible for the low incidences.

They, however, said the percentage fatality rates are maintained between 1.3 per cent, even after three months of the pandemic. In Nigeria, the fatality rate was highest (3.57 per cent) on May 2, 2020 and is now below 2.9 per cent after three months (March to May

The leader of the team of researchers, Prof. Isa Marte Hussaini gave reasons for the low COVID-19 incidence and fatality in Africa. Hussaini, a professor of pharmacology and fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), said: “The African population is very young based on our lower average life expectancy (61 years for males and 65 for females) compared with Asia, Europe or North America. In West Africa, it is 56 years (2019).

The ages below these average of life expectancy have relatively good immune systems and low numbers of patients with co-morbidities such as diabetes mellitus, asthma and heart diseases compared with those over 70 years.

“Africans have more Vitamin D3 than Caucasians and Asians because of abundance of sunlight in the continent. Vitamin D3 is an immune booster, which protects Africans from coronavirus disease.

“In Africa, the frequency of exposures to bacteria and viruses is very high because of the poor hygiene conditions. This may lead to a generation of specific antibodies (IgG) in Africans to different diseases including coronaviruses (SARS CoV-1&2) which may make the African immune system much stronger than that of a Caucasian or Asian….”

Hussaini specialised in cancer research and is currently exploring the use of local herbs for cancer therapy. His report to the Nigerian Academy of Science on the use of local herbs for Cancer therapy suggested that herbal plants are more efficacious than the current drugs used in cancer treatments.

Hussaini said his team has successfully used some combination of local herbs to prevent and treat COVID-19 patients. “Some of the patients tested positive and were in isolation centre when the preparations were given to them. The quarantined patients were all discharged and did not develop any symptoms of COVID-19. The prophylactic use of the preparations was also successful,” he said.

Black seed oil, vitamin D3, aspirin, zinc

Hussaini said the dosage and usage are:
*Black Caraway/Black seed (Nigella sativa) Seed oil one teaspoonful three times daily (immunity booster, anti inflammatory, anti histaminic, anti bacterial and anti viral activities). We have determined the safety level of black seed oil at this dose level and is very safe
*Vitamin D3 1000 IU daily (immune booster, anti inflammatory and prevents cloth formation).

*Aspirin 75 (UK brand) or 81 (US brand) mg daily (prevents clot formation). Aspirin at this dose level selectively blocks the formation of thromboxane A2 in platelets without affecting the production of prostacyclin by the endothelium.”

He said this selective inhibitory property of low dose aspirin prevents platelets from aggregation and sticking together to form thrombus, which is recently found in COVID-19 patients.

Hussaini said the three preparations were given for 10- 14 days for treatment of COVID-19. “On a personal note, I have been taking Vitamin D3, aspirin 81mg for the past 10 years to boost my immune system and prevent thrombus formation,” he said.

The pharmacologist said the study involved both prevention and treatment with a sample size of 30 persons. “There is need to increase the sample size. It is now up to the Ministry of Health and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to finance and carry out multi-centre clinical trials involving thousands of COVID-19 patients for this treatment regimen,” he said.

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