During Akufo Addo’s 26th address on measures his administration has put in place to intensify the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday, July 25, he noted that the country ought to reduce its dependence on foreign vaccine supplies.
Hence he proposed the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute.
“We must be self-sufficient in this regard in the future, and prepare ourselves better to deal with any such occurrences in the future. To this end, I established a Committee, under the leadership of the world-renowned Ghanaian scientist, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, to investigate Ghana’s potential as a vaccine manufacturing hub, to meet national and regional needs. They have presented a preliminary report which, amongst others, recommends the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead this development. Government has committed to injecting seed funding of some twenty-five million United States dollars (US$25 million) this year into this whole enterprise.,” President Akufo Addo said.
Neem, a potential solution to COVID-19?
In the world of Ayurveda, neem is a popular herb that has an array of medicinal properties that helps the body ward off infections. It is believed the Neem plant has over 130 biologically active compounds that help to fight and keep the body away from viral and bacterial diseases.
A research article by Shanmuga Subramanian from the Government College of Engineering, India, under the topic “Some Compounds from Neem leaves extract exhibit binding affinity as high as -14.3 kcal/mol against COVID-19 Main Protease (Mpro): A Molecular Docking Study,” revealed that the compounds from Neem leaves and Meliacinanhydride (Ki=33.36 pM) may be a potential treatment option against COVID-19.
“ In addition to that the leaves contain other compounds like Quercetin, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, etc., which may boost immunity also (Garba, 2019),” a portion of the research article revealed.
The research article concluded that further investigations were needed “ to evaluate the results of this study to consider Neem leaves as a potential treatment option as it might inhibit the virus and boost immunity also.”
Notwithstanding the research findings, a section of Ghanaians attests to the potent effect of neem leaves in the fight against the novel virus.
In an interview monitored by Ghana Talks Business, the President of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association, (GHAFTRAM), Kojo Odum Eduful vouched for the effectiveness of neem in the treatment of the virus.
“I can vouch for it because neem leaves can treat lots of fever. If it is true that the virus enters through the nose mostly and tries to go down your lungs, and if it is also true that the virus cannot stand high temperatures, we also advise that you boil it to 100 degrees Celsius, then I can vouch for it,” he said.
Though there is no conclusive, documented study revealing neem leaves as a potent medicinal herb against COVID-19, it must be an area to explore.