COVID -19: Madagascar herbal remedy has not gone through clinical trials, it is unsafe – WHO
The world health organization has stated its position on the much touted herbal remedy (COVID organics) for coronavirus in Madagascar and some other Africa countries saying it not only unsafe but the Madagascan President, Andry Rajoelina, has shown tardiness in allowing the drug go through laid down scientific principles of clinical trials.
The COVID-Organics infusion is derived from artemisia – a plant with proven anti-malarial properties – and other indigenous herbs.
Rajoelina hopes to distribute the infusion across West Africa and beyond, claiming it cures COVID-19 patients within 10 days.
Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and the Niger Republic have already received consignments of the potion. Others such as Tanzania have expressed interest.
But the World Health Organisation has repeatedly warned that there are no published scientific studies of the herbal tea and that its effects have not been tested.
“We would caution and advise countries against adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy,” WHO Africa Director, Matshidiso Moeti, said in a press briefing on Thursday, calling on Madagascar to take the drink “through a clinical trial”.
Moeti said that in 2000, African governments had committed to taking “traditional therapies” through the same clinical trials as other medication.
“I can understand the need, the drive to find something that can help,” Moeti said. “But we would very much like to encourage this scientific process in which the governments themselves made a commitment.”
Rajoelina defended his herbal concoctions during a Coronavirus screening campaign in Madagascar’s Eastern city of Toamasina on Thursday.
“The WHO has indicated that artemisia could lead to a cure for Coronavirus,” the President said, promising to submit the drink to clinical trials.
Madagascar has repeatedly attributed the 101 recoveries from coronavirus outbreak of 123 cases with no death to their locally made COVID organics. But some medical experts believe the government is not transparent with the cure as their health authorities didnt say if patients with comorbodities like diabetes, asthma, hypertension, cancer and so on are among the persons that were cured. Moreover, other experts feel it is a drug propangada since the country’s President is reluctant to allow it go through clinical trials.