The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that herbal drinks advocated by the President of Madagascar should be tested to treat covid-19 to check its effectiveness. The head of the organization ’s Africa office said that WHO has no evidence to prove that the drink is effective.
Madagascar ’s President Andry Rajoelina defended this week ’s unproven Covid-Organics drink, which is said to be made with Artemisia annua and vanilla, and told France 24 that It is a “prevention and treatment method” and “good effect”.
However, at a news conference yesterday, when Matshidiso Moeti of the WHO Regional Office for Africa was asked if WHO had any data or evidence to prove its effectiveness, she said: “No, we do not.”
She said that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is about to talk to Rajolelina about so-called remedies. Moeti said that WHO supports the use of traditional medicine in the African medical system, but research must be conducted to see if they are effective.
Regarding Covid-Organics, she said that WHO hopes to evaluate its efficacy, and this work can be carried out by Madagascar scientists. “We have provided a research design that supports the research of this product.” She said that the World Health Organization is in discussions with the Madagascar government.
She added: “We do not discourage the use of products, but we recommend that you test them.”
This beverage was developed by the Madagascar Institute of Application and launched by Rajolelina last month. Since then, orders have been sent to several other countries, including Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Tanzania.
The WHO said it discourages the use of herbal drinks, but it pays for ads to appear alongside Google ’s search for artemisia annua. The advertisement points to the World Health Organization page, which states that the medicinal plant should be tested for efficacy and negative side effects. A statement said: “Africans should use drugs that have been tested to meet the same standards as the rest of the world.”
After promising initial work carried out in China, research is being carried out in Europe to assess the prospects of Artemisia annua extracts for use against new coronaviruses.
The Madagascar Institute of Applied Research and the Madagascar government have not yet responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.