WHO endorses protocol for virus natural medication trials

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WHO endorses protocol for virus herbal medicine trials

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The World Health Organization on Saturday approved a protocol for testing African herbal medicines as a potential treatment for the coronavirus and other epidemics.

COVID-19 has raised the issue of using traditional medicines to fight contemporary diseases, and the confirmation has clearly encouraged testing with criteria similar to those for molecules developed by laboratories in Asia, Europe or America.

It came months after an offer by the President of Madagascar to promote a drink made from Artemisia, a plant proven to be effective in treating malaria, met widespread contempt.

On Saturday, WHO experts and colleagues from two other organizations approved a protocol for Phase III herbal medicine clinical trials for COVID-19, as well as a charter and mandate to establish a data and safety monitoring committee for the Herbal Medicine Clinic, " it says in a statement.

"Phase III clinical trials are critical to fully evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a new medical device," it said.

"If a traditional medical device is found to be safe, effective and quality assured, the WHO will recommend it for rapid local, large-scale production," Prosper Tumusiime, a WHO regional director, was quoted as saying.

WHO partners are the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Social Affairs Commission of the African Union.

"The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has underscored the need for health systems strengthening and accelerated research and development programs, including traditional medicines," Tumusiime said.

However, he was not referring specifically to the Madagascar drink COVID-Organics, also called CVO, which President Andry Rajoelina has proposed as a cure for the virus.

It was widely used in Madagascar and sold to several other countries, mainly Africa.

In May, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti told the media that African governments had committed in 2000 to "traditional therapies" in the same clinical trials as other drugs.

"I can understand the need to find something that can help," said Moeti. "But we want to encourage this scientific process, in which the governments have committed themselves, very much."

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