The World Health Organization (WHO), the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs announced on September 19, 2020 the formation of a Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19. This committee “has endorsed a protocol for phase III clinical trials of herbal medicine for COVID-19 as well as a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.” according to a statement by the WHO.This announcement is a game changer in the fight for recognition and respect of African traditional knowledge.
Covid-Organics From Madagascar
Since the spread of COVID-19, African herbalists have proposed different remedies to treat or prevent coronavirus. In April 2020, when President Andry Rajoelina of the Republic of Madagascar launched Covid-Organics to treat and prevent against COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) was one of many who warned against it because it has not been tested and encouraged people to continue to follow social distancing measures. Other scientists warned that because the remedy’s main ingredient is Artemisia Annua which is used in many malaria drugs, it could create resistance to existing malaria medications.
In an interview with French news television France 24, President Rajoelina insisted that his country’s Covid-Organics, which was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA), has undergone serious scientific scrutiny and that all criticisms were baseless and discriminatory simply because it was an African discovery. In total disregard of these criticisms, Presidents of Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, and Gambia got doses of the remedy to support this African initiative and to encourage similar efforts on the Continent.
Elixir Covid and Adsak Covid From Cameroon
In April, Archbishop Samuel Kleda of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Douala in the Republic of Cameroon announced and widely distributed two herbal treatments against COVID-19 which he named in June, Elixir Covid and Adsak Covid. Like Covid-Organics from Madagascar, Archbishop Kleda’s remedies were also challenged by some scientists who believe that they were untested in accordance with established standards required before any drug is used. However, the remedies were welcomed by many Cameroonians. The remedies were distributed to Catholic dioceses across Cameroon and given free of charge to any Covid-19 positive patient who wanted it and sold to the rest of the population. As far back as May 26, Archbishop Kleda met with the Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute to present his work and has received encouragement and promises to help improve the remedies in order to make them available to the public. After the meeting with Prime Minister Dion Ngute, Archbishop Kleda told reporters that the remedies are being studied to determine their toxicities and later make them more available to the public.
The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19’s protocol for Phase III clinical trials of herbal medicine for COVID-19 is a very welcome news not only because of the scientific rigor which will be applied on Covid-19 herbal medicine to ensure patient’s safety, but it will add value to the product, and also help continue to improve research in herbal medicine in general.