I understand that the audacity of this question alone might be nerve wracking for some people. However, the race to find the cure for Covid-19 has been on since the beginning of the outbreak and Africa is not sitting on the fence waiting for a saviour but also taking action on the search for solutions. Scientists and medical companies around the globe have been mobilizing at record speed to develop a vaccine but the virus is spreading even faster.
For countries, governments, medical institutions, pharmaceutical companies, biotech organizations, scientists, doctors, non-doctors, news channels across the world, and even non-medical industries, there is suddenly only one priority on the agenda and that is COVID-19!
According to Informa Pharma Intelligence, “More than 140 experimental vaccine and drug treatments for the coronavirus are in development worldwide, most in early stages, including 11 already in clinical trials.”
Though many companies are working on a cure yet no company has offered a timeline for when its drug might be used more widely to treat Covid-19. Even though we live in a highly technologically advanced world that allows us to do certain things more quickly yet our only hope to protect ourselves from this novel Coronavirus lies in practicing social distancing, contact tracing, self-isolation, and other non-medical measures.
But Could the Cure for COVID-19 Emerge out of Africa? Could a simple traditional African medicine change the course of history in the combat against COVID-19? Could a non-scientific method be the solution to this unprecedented pandemic? These are alarming questions many don’t want to ask, at least publicly.
Madagascar President, Andry Rajoelina believes so, and he is convinced that the island country is not only asking these questions but has the solution in stemming the pandemic. Last month, the Malagasy president officially launched Covid-Organics (CVO), an organic herbal tonic, that can prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
President Rajoelina has attributed recovery of 105 COVID-19 patients in Madagascar to the herbal potion. “A marked improvement was observed in the health of the patients who received this remedy just 24 hours after they took the first dose. The cure was noted after seven days, even ten days. This remedy is natural and non-toxic,” he said.
The medicinal plant is known as artemisia. The big question is could this potentially change the course of history? I say “could” because it has not yet been proven(accepted) by the powers that be as a possible cure for coronavirus. Every claim deserves a fair chance!
Covid Organics or CVO is produced from a medicinal plant by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) created from the Artemisia plant. Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) specialises in the study of medicinal plants.
A heated debate has erupted in regard to these claims but the Madagascar government strongly believes Artemisia annua may be a valuable alternative treatment for COVID-19 both in preventive and curative approaches.
Madagascar has the world’s largest supply of artemisia and has the capacity to grow and produce artemisia. An executive from Bionexx said “each year Madagascar produces 25 tonnes of artemisinin, the plant’s medicinal active ingredient, i.e., a share of around 10% of the global market.”
According to Cornet-Vernet, many other African countries have already agreed in principle to perform clinical trials focused on artemisia, including Benin, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Rwanda.
Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea are also joining the list of African countries importing Madagascar’s COVID-19 ‘cure’ even though the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not endorsed it.
Jean-Luc Galabert, one of the founders of the Rwandan research firm Inter-Culturel said, “Unlike other pharmaceutical drugs, the plant doesn’t require a full-fledged production chain and it also allows us to avoid issues like drug counterfeiting.”
As of today, 12th May 2020, Madagascar has 193 cases of confirmed cases, 105 recovered and 0 deaths. Other countries in Africa with zero deaths include Rwanda, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, Africa’s Covid-19 mortality rate has been surprisingly low. Africa has been strategic and proactive in the fight against Covid-19. Different countries in Africa are coming up with innovative and effective strategies to protect the continent.
A great example is Senegal’s $1 Covid-19 test kit that gives results in 10 minutes. This been a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic. Suspected patients drop blood or saliva on the device and wait for a line to appear, no need for highly equipped labs. It’s a simple test that can be done anywhere without any need for electricity. People can even do it themselves if they have access to the test kits.
Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, said. “People are looking into whether existing antivirals might work or whether new drugs could be developed to try to tackle the virus.”
“There’s a lot of uncertainty with vaccine development,” Lee said. “Naturally, you have to make sure the vaccine is safe. But you also have to make sure the vaccine will elicit enough of an immune response There’s no guarantee whatsoever that any of the vaccine candidates will work.”
And so, why can’t WHO and other powers that be take a deeper look into the Madagascar claims? If it were a European country or the Western or China which had discovered this remedy, would there be so little coverage, so much doubt and scorn?
When President Trump said hydroxychloroquine could be the cure for covid19, researchers looked into his claims and reported that “hydroxychloroquine had not been beneficial to participants in another clinical study. They said the medication didn’t harm the participants who took it, but the drug also didn’t lessen their need for ventilators nor did it reduce their risk of death.”
Which begs the question, where are researchers and scientists heading to Madagascar to study this herb? Why can’t the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the very least carry out a clinical trial on the herb? Does the world really want a cure for Covid19 or does the world want a “particular cure” from “particular people”?
Could the world be turning a deaf ear to Madagascar simply because their solution to Covid-19 seems too easy? Could it because the solution is not scientific enough, not expensive enough, and not groundbreaking enough to be given attention? Are we so used to scientific solutions that we refuse to look elsewhere?
What if the herb can boost the immune system just enough to fight off the new Coronavirus? What if these claims hold some truth although there’s no scientific evidence yet to confirm the theory?
Is this remedy being looked down on because its from Africa or because it doesn’t work?
What are your thoughts on this?
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