WORLD Health Organization (WHO) officials have held a virtual meeting with 70 African traditional medicine experts concerning the treatment of coronavirus as part of a programme to see it they can find a herbal remedy for the virus.
Historically, Africa has always been home to large numbers of herbs that are ideal for making drugs but traditional medical practitioners have struggled to attract pharmaceutical giants to tap into this resource. With the coronavirus pandemic, several African nations have been testing local remedies, with Madagascar’s herbal Covid Organics, the most popular.
Most of these African remedies have, however, not been subject to clinical trials and WHO is now looking to engage practitioners to see how the gap can be bridged. In a tweet, the WHO’s regional office for Africa said its meeting with the experts focused on the role of traditional medicine in the search for a Covid-19 vaccine.
A WHO spokesman said: ”They unanimously agreed that clinical trials must be conducted for all medicines in the Region, without exception.” This meeting was held just a day after Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina slammed the UN health agency for not endorsing Covid Organics.
WHO had warned against the use of Covid Organics without any medical supervision and also cautioned against self-medication. In addition, WHO further called for clinical trials of Covid Organics.
Last week, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said: “We are advising the government of Madagascar to take this product through a clinical trial and we are prepared to collaborate with them.”
After originating in China last December, Covid-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. This pandemic has killed over 286,600 people worldwide, with total infections more than 4.19m, while recoveries exceeded 1.46m, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.