The ECOWAS Commission has said it did not order Covid-Organics, the herbal remedy touted by Madagascar as being able to prevent and cure Coronavirus.
Madagascar had days ago donated consignments of the drug to member countries of the West Africansub-regional body.
The consignments were given to Guinea Bissau to distribute to ECOWAS member states.
President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau said at a ceremony to receive the drugs that “This donation is part of the fight against the global pandemic called COVID-19. I would like to say that with this, Guinea-Bissau will be seen as a different kind of nation.”
“It will be seen as a country that still has good people. And today, the world will talk about Guinea-Bissau,” he added.
Embalo’s chief of staff, Califa Soares Cassama then said that the 14 other members of ECOWAS are waiting for drug.
Dissociation by ECOWAS
But the Directorate of Communications, ECOWAS Commission says reports claiming ECOWAS ordered the drug are untrue.
In a statement on Thursday in Abuja, the ECOWAS Commission said “We wish to disassociate ECOWAS and its health institution, West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), from this claim and inform the general public that we have not ordered the said CVO medication.”
“We are aware that several claims of COVID-19 cure have been made in different parts of the world, but we can only support and endorse products that are effective through scientific study,” the statement added.
The ECOWAS commission went on to say that “WAHO is collaborating with relevant partners including WHO, African CDC, and national, regional and international research consortia to promote the scientific search for a cure.
We are working with member-states on some of the medications available for clinical trials and use on a compassionate basis in selected severe cases.”
“Some of the traditional medicine centres of excellence in the ECOWAS region are also currently investigating products of potential efficacy.
One of this is to strengthen cooperation among member-states in research, training and experience sharing in health matters in general and in the fight against COVID-19 in particular,” it concluded.
Already the World Health Organization has warned that using traditional medicines that have not been tested and proven to be efficient scientifically can put the lives of people in danger.
In a statement it said that “Medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects.
Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.”
The Covid-Organics was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (Imra).
The herbal remedy was produced from artemisia plant, an ingredient used in a malaria treatment and other Malagasy plants.