Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina has responded to critics of his country’s much touted herbal remedy for coronavirus.
He told French news channel France24 that those doubting the efficacy of the Covid-Organics, a locally produced herbal tonic from Madagascar are condescending of Africa.
“We had 171 cases, of which 105 were cured and the majority of these patients who were cured took only the product Covid-Organics,” Rajoelina said in the interview.
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.
Rajoelina has been leading the charge in promoting the drug and also donating to other African countries.
There have been a high level of skepticism from the World Health Organization and other countries who have warned against the use of the drug.
Rajoelina said in French that “If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so.”
— FRANCE 24 Français (@France24_fr) May 12, 2020
WHO insist on further clinical trials
The WHO said last week in a statement 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 WHO has now said that “70 traditional medicine experts from countries across Africa held a virtual meeting with WHO on the role of traditional medicine in the COVID19 response.
They unanimously agreed that clinical trials must be conducted for all medicines in the Region, without exception.”
They unanimously agreed that clinical trials must be conducted for all medicines in the Region, without exception. pic.twitter.com/fCKYiYiMqb
— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) May 12, 2020