Johannesburg – On Tuesday the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said it is obtaining technical data on the herbal remedy that Madagascar claims has cured Covid-19 patients.
The African Union (AU) said it was talking to Madagascar’s embassy in Addis Ababa about the safety and efficacy of the substance known as Covid-Organics.
Madagascar said it is now producing the tonic from a plant called Artemisia for herbal prevention and treatment of Covid-19.
Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina presented the herbal tonic to other heads of state on the continent at a teleconference of the AU chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Although it was not tested internationally, Covid-Organics is being produced in bulk by the Madagascar Institute of Applied Research, and is being distributed door-to-door by the army in the capital Antananarivo.
Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea ordered and received the tonic, which according to Madagascar cures Covid-19 patients within 10 days.
The Africa CDC said once it is furnished with the details, it would study the scientific data gathered on the safety and efficacy of Covid-Organics.
The centre said its review would be based on global technical and ethical norms-based scientific evidence.
On Wednesday SA Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the country received a request from the government of Madagascar, and that it is willing to help.
“We did get a call from the government of Madagascar. They asked us to help investigate the scientific basis on which such a drug could be used,” Mkhize said.
The herb in question is African Wormwood (Artemisia Asteracae), known for clearing the respiratory tract. This is a popular herb used locally and called umhlonyane in isiZulu, and lengana in seSotho and seTswana.
The request was made by the country’s foreign affairs minister, Mkhize said.
“And there had been a call from the president and we then said our scientific research institutions will be willing to support an analysis on that matter,” Mkhize said.