Finding effective medical treatments and a vaccine to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, has animated researchers and clinicians the world over. With the persisting pandemic, an expert advisory committee has been set up by the World Health Organization, and Africa Center for Disease Control in a bid to discover and develop effective traditional medicine treatments for COVID-19.
At the induction of committee members Wednesday 22nd July 2020, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti Regional Director of World Health Organization Africa said “Interest in traditional medicine as potential remedies for COVID-19 is growing in Africa. As the world races to find treatment and vaccines against the virus, research into traditional and orthodox medicines as potential COVID-19 therapy must be grounded in science.”
This has come at a time when individuals and even countries on the continent have turned inward to natural or traditional cures against the COVID-19 pandemic. These included the announcement by President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar of COVID Organics efficacy in curing COVID-19. Resulting in some African countries including President John Magufuli of Tanzania amongst others receiving shipments of the cure.
In response African Union had advocated that the herbal cure be subjected to clinical testing. With the constitution of this committee this can be facilitated. According to Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and speaking at the launch of the committee, “rigorous clinical testing to evaluate safety and efficacy will be critical, similar to other areas of medicine.”
Traditional medicine was reportedly significant in China’s fight to curb the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, according to the World Health Organization. This makes a case to explore traditional medical cures in this current pandemic. This is with the World Health Organization previously estimating that about 80% of African and Asians utilize traditional herbal medicines. Should a safe and effective cure be found, potentially this has the ability to be widely acceptable and accessible across the African and even diaspora. One amongst others with such potential is the Artemisia Annua plant, which according to the WHO needs further efficacy and safety testing in treatment of COVID-19.