In the previous analysis, we noted that beyond the business leaders and social supports from the non-governmental organisations and individuals, drug manufactures have also swung into action, researching and producing drugs that would cure the virus. Medicago, Airway Therapeutics, Tiziana Life Sciences, OyaGen, BeyondSpring, Altimmune, Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Company, Algernon Pharmaceuticals, University of British Columbia and APEIRON Biologics, Moderna and Vaccine Research Center, MIGAL Research Institute, Tonix Pharmaceuticals, Innovation Pharmaceuticals, Clover Biopharmaceuticals, Vaxart, Applied DNA Sciences and Takis Biotech are some of the companies at forefront of this initiative.
Meanwhile, the current piece intends to examine some issues around the production and use of herbs for the treatment of the virus. It is a known fact that Africans and other people in developing continents usually apply herbs for the treatment of various diseases when modern medicines or medical attentions are not readily available. This has been further verified by a recent study which indicates that 80% of Africans use some form of traditional herbal medicines. This use has never been peculiar to pandemic period alone. Africans and others in low income countries have always had the course to use varied plants (prepared as concoction) in their domain for health purposes despite warning from medical experts.
The argument has been that the herbs (or concoctions) are not proven scientifically. The recent announcement of Covid-Organics by Madagascar, a southern African country, and significant interest shown in the herb by a number of countries in Africa ignites the debate on the efficacy of herbs. According to a source, “Covid-Organics is produced from artemisia, a plant with proven efficacy against malaria, and other indigenous herbs.”
A check shows that the plant being used by Madagascar was imported into the country in the 1970s from China to treat malaria. Though, the Covid-Organics is being consumed by people in the country, President Rajoelina said “clinical trials are under way in Madagascar to produce a form that can be injected into the body.”
Apart from Madagascar, a report indicates that a traditional ruler in south-west Nigeria, in partnership with a local traditional medicine company, is working towards a herbal remedy for the treatment of the virus that has infected million and killed thousands of people. The report further indicates that the proposed remedy “is based on a mix of bitter leaves, neem leaves and seeds, sulphur, black pepper and cloves that are traditionally used in Yorùbáland as powerful antioxidants to flush the system of harmful viruses.”
In spite of the believe that herbal medicine has played a substantial role in combating infectious diseases in Africa for years, there are fears that African leaders could spread the virus through quackery, especially with the promotion of unverified drugs or medicines. To further understand public position on the issue, Knowcovid-19 Nigeria recently analysed the views of Nigerians on social media and discovered that 80% of 501 sampled citizens were not happy. This does not mean that people should use any suggested herbal remedy that has not been proved scientifically.
Our analyst observes that governments and individuals with the intent of producing or already manufacturing possible herb-driven drugs should be open for scientific screening and trials. This is imperative considering the fact that a number of herbal remedies for disease treatment, lack measurements among other issues that could result in severe damage of users’ body or leading additional health issues.