African country, Madagascar launches COVID ORGANICS, a “herbal cure” for coronavirus
London, April 21, 2020 (AltAfrica)-COVID ORGANICS, a herbal remedy believed to have the potency to cure covid-19 virus has been presented to the world by the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, on Monday Though unproven and without any medical or scientific prove
The local herbal remedy, named COVID-ORGANICS, is effective against the virus, Rajoelina said, speaking in Malagasy at the launch of the product in Madagascar’s capital city of Antananarivo. The product strengthens the body’s immune system, he added.
The president’s office did not respond to Mongabay’s request for information supporting the claim that the product helped cure COVID-19.
Rajoelina shared images of the product on his social media page: bottles of a dark amber liquid with the label COVID-ORGANICS and Tisane Bio. The word tisane refers to herbal teas.
The principal ingredient in the concoction is derived from Artemisia annua or sweet wormwood, a green leafy plant that emits a striking odor. Dried leaves from the plant are considered to have medicinal properties in Madagascar. But there is no evidence to show it actually works against COVID-19, a disease that has claimed over 165,000 lives and infected almost 2.5 million people across the world.
Herbal remedies made from A. annua leaves are often touted as a cure for malaria. But its use against malaria is controversial. “WHO does not recommend the use of A. annua plant material, in any form, including tea, for the treatment or the prevention of malaria,” a 2012 position paper from the World Health Organization said.
The WHO’s office for Traditional and Complementary Medicine had not responded to questions about its use for COVID-19 at the time this article was published.
The product also bears the stamp of the Malagasy Institute for Applied Research (IMRA), where research to develop the purported cure was conducted.
Madagascar has a low number of novel coronavirus cases, just 121 out of a population of 26 million, and no reported deaths as of Monday afternoon. The country declared a national emergency after the first confirmed cases emerged on March 20, and placed the major cities of Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa and Toamasina under lockdown. But on Monday some restrictions were eased in these major cities.
It was not clear if the preparation the president unveiled on Monday is supposed to act as a cure or a vaccine. Rajoelina suggested not just that patients of COVID-19 were treated with it but that students would have to drink it in order to return to school, implying that it would prevent them from getting the disease.
He also said that the product will be made available free of cost for the poor.
The raging spread of the disease and the global economic fallout from measures to contain it have created a cavernous demand for a cure. However, no proven cure has emerged yet. The WHO has specifically warned against the spread of misinformation and miracle cures