The Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Monday, released a food advisory, which he said experts have certified as immune boosters that could help the human body prevent attacks of COVID-19.
The governor, who is also the chairman of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, while addressing newsmen at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, on Monday, shortly after a meeting of the Task Force, said that the food advisory was certified by Professor Olatunde Farombi, a Professor of Biochemistry and Head of Department of Biochemistry, at the University of Ibadan.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, also quoted the governor as saying that the state Task Force would reveal the identity of the company with 38 COVID-19 positive cases among its members of staff in Ibadan.
The governor also said that his administration was in talks with religious bodies over the possible relaxation of ban on religious gathering.
He stated that he would meet with religious leaders before the end of the week to review procedures for reopening of religious centres.
The governor said: “We will issue an advisory based on the advice given by Professor Olatunde Farombi, a Professor of Biochemistry and Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Science.
“This is on foods and natural products useful as preventive measures against COVID-19 and other viral illnesses. For instance, we have bitter Kola, turmeric, zinc, ginger, garlic, citrus fruits and bitter leaf -“they are all readily available in our environment.”
Professor Farombi had, in the paper submitted to the Task Force, said: “Our research group has investigated the above agents in the last 25 years with publications in recognised journals.
Some of the works have led to the award of Ph.D. thesis adjudged to be the best by NUC and the University of Ibadan. Some patents have also come out of these studies.”
The professor further stated: “Oxidative stress, hyper inflammation and compromised immune system are very common pathways by which coronavirus attacks the body system and people can then come down with the COVID-19.
“We have indigenous food substances and natural products available to people that have been shown experimentally to have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. They also serve as immunomodulators. They can be taken regularly as prophylaxis or as preventive measures against COVID-19 and other viral illnesses.”
Speaking further on the containment of COVID-19 in the state, Makinde said: “Regarding our directives on social distancing during this pandemic, we have received requests from religious leaders about relaxing the ban on gatherings to allow religious services to hold.
“We are currently in the accelerated phase in the transmission of Covid-19 in Oyo State and the expert advice is that transmission occurs more easily in enclosed spaces, so we cannot at this time relax this directive.
“However, the experts are carrying out a risk situation analysis and would be sending in their reports before the end of May, and this will determine our next steps.”
Also speaking, former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hopsital (UCH), Professor Temitope Alonge, commended the state government for its support, noting that the discharge of 25 patients in 48 hours showed that the Task Force was on top of the situation.
He said: “On Saturday, 11 patients were discharged and yesterday, fourteen patients were discharged, making 25 within the space of 48 hours. And we expect that in another 24 hours, more patients are expected to leave the centre hale and hearty.
“What is more exciting is that before they leave, we also want to check their immunoglobin level, which is a reflection of how much antibody they have been able to muster against this virus. What we have found so far is that, with good nutrition and with the regimen we have put in place, many of them are developing what we call protective antibodies and they are having a high IGG values.
“But if, for any reason, a patient has tested positive twice on admission, we repeat this regimen that I mentioned but we will continue with the zinc and vitamin C.
“So far so good, we are very grateful for the tremendous support of the state government in ensuring that the patients in isolation are doing well.”