COVID-19: WHO to begin clinical trials of African traditional medicine

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WHO’s regional office for Africa said the meeting with experts across Africa focused on the role of traditional medicine in response against the coronavirus pandemic

The UN health agency had warned against the use of untested remedies but called for clinical trials of herbal medicine following the meeting

The announcement came a day after Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina criticised it after it failed to endorse its medicine named Covid Organics

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has held a virtual meeting with 70 African traditional medicine experts as its search for coronavirus cure continues.

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The United Nations (UN) health agency said clinical trials of traditional medicine would start following an agreement with the experts.

WHO holds meeting with 70 African traditional medicine experts, announces start of clinical trials
The novel coronavirus has spread to over 210 countries across the world. Photo: CDC. Source: UGC

In a tweet on Tuesday, May 12, WHO’s regional office for Africa said the meeting with experts across Africa focused on the role of traditional herbal medicine in the COVID-19 response.

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“Seventy traditional medicine experts from countries across Africa held a virtual meeting with WHO on the role of traditional medicine in the COVID-19 response. They unanimously agreed that clinical trials must be conducted for all medicines in the region, without exception,” it said.

The announcement came a day after Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina criticised the UN agency after it failed to endorse its medicine named Covid Organics (CVO) – a herbal concoction, which he claimed could cure COVID-19 patients.

“If it were a European country which discovered this remedy, there would be no doubts. The problem is that it comes from Africa and they cannot accept a country like Madagascar, one of the poorest in the world but has discovered a formula,” Rajoelina said.

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The WHO had cautioned against the use of untested remedies but called for clinical trials of the same following the meeting.

“We are advising the government of Madagascar to take this product through a clinical trial and we are prepared to collaborate with them,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, said last week.

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