A Professor of Biochemistry at Lagos State University (LASU) has urged Nigerians to embrace natural foods and proper hydration to boost their immune system to fight against COVID-19.
Prof. Babajide Elemo made the call at the sixth LASU Virtual Public Lecture, entitled; “COVID-19: Effective Use of Science in Overcoming the Pandemic,” in Lagos.
He said that regular consumption of natural foods and balanced nutrition was part of the keys to staying free from contracting COVID-19 and any other diseases.
“World Health Organization recently published a piece of nutrition advice that people should eat fresh and unprocessed food, drink enough water, eat a moderate amount of fat and oil, amongst others.
“Balanced diet and hydration are vital during COVID-19 pandemic, while nutrition status plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system,” Elemo said.
Dr Josephine Sharaibi, Lecturer, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, LASU, said that absence of a cure for COVID-19 necessitated that everyone consumed the right foods and herbs as a means of boosting the immune system against the virus.
Sharaibi said that plants were critical to both the prevention and eventual cure of the disease and advised participants on the responsible use of herbs and herbal medicines in their search for the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that there were many local herbs which included ginger, garlic, turmeric and cinnamon that could be taken as immune boosters.
“There are also anti-malaria herbs such as moringa lucida (Brimstone tree), alstonia boonei (God’s tree), enantha clorantha (African whitewood) and the popular Dogonyaro tree, all of which can be used to treat symptoms of the virus.
“We should also regularly detoxify our system by taking herb drinks and natural fruit smoothies but avoid processed foods and as much as possible, stay natural,” Sharaibi advised.
Also speaking, Prof. Sunday Omilabu, Director, Centre of Excellence on Human and Zoonotic Virology, Lagos State Biobank, warned against the unapproved testing process of COVID-19.
Omilabu said that till date, no serological testing platform had been licensed for COVID-19, and even when available, was not meant to replace the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of the virus.
Prof. Richard Adegbola, Research Professor and Consultant, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, recommended three-pronged approaches to prepare for future pandemics.
Adegbola said that the three approaches were consistent surveillance for data aggregation and trend monitoring; modelling for prediction and forecasting, and translation and research that turned basic research into health-improving products.
He said there was a need for a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving because research alone would not be enough to solve all science-related problems.
“Technology and other fields, have major roles to play in keeping our world together,” Adegbola said.