Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

COVID-19: WHO backs traditional medicines, new therapies for treatment

* As NCDC disapproves of herbal solutions for treatment of pandemic

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the global world continues the search for effective vaccines for the treatment of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it welcomes innovations, including scientifically-proven repurposing drugs, traditional medicines and emerging therapies for potential treatments for the fatal disease.

This was disclosed by the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, in a statement posted on its Web site Monday, May 4.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

It was learnt the global health organisation stated that it recognises that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine have many benefits.

The statement read in part: “Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations.

“Medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19, and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects.

“Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standard.

“Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical,’’ it stated.

Meanwhile, WHO stated that African governments, through their Ministers for Health, have adopted a resolution.

The global healthcare body said: “The resolution urges member states to produce evidence on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine at the 50th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in 2000.

“Countries also agreed to undertake relevant research and require national medicines regulatory agencies to approve medicines in line with international standards, which include the product following a strict research protocol and undergoing tests and clinical trials.

“These studies normally involve hundreds of people under the monitoring of the national regulatory authorities and may take quite a few months in an expedited process.

“WHO is working with research institutions to select traditional medicine products that can be investigated for clinical efficacy and safety for COVID-19 treatment.’’

The organisation added that it would continue to support countries as they explore the role of traditional health practitioners in prevention, control and early detection of the virus as well as case referral to health facilities.

“Over the past two decades, WHO has been working with countries to ensure safe and effective traditional medicine development in Africa by providing financial resources and technical support.

“WHO has supported clinical trials, leading 14 countries to issue marketing authorisation for 89 traditional medicine products that have met international and national requirements for registration.

“Of these, 43 have been included in national essential medicines lists.

“These products are now part of the arsenal to treat patients with a wide range of diseases, including malaria, opportunistic infections related to HIV, diabetes, sickle cell and hypertension,” it stated.

The body, while revealing there are ongoing efforts at finding treatment for COVID-19, it stresses that caution should be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies.

“Many plants and substances are being proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy,” it disclosed.

His Royal Majesty (HRM), Oba Enita Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife

In connection with local efforts at finding potent cure for COVID-19 epidemic in Nigeria, it is recalled that His Royal Majesty (HRM), Oba Enita Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife, recently disclosed that an indigenous cure for Coronavirus disease would be out soon.

Oba Ogunwusi had stated: “We are going to proffer the local cure for Coronavirus very soon.

“I have gone very far in advanced stage with the traditional medicine practitioners in Nigeria because before this pandemic came out, I had actually announced even before it came and broke out to the entire world.

“From what we inherited from our ancestors, it came out very clear and the cure. The immune booster, and the solution to a large extent, was presented to us and we did what we are supposed to do. But the people probably didn’t hear us.”

The royal father further said: “I am very happy that the same thing that we are talking about in Nigeria, another sister country, Madagascar, has taken it upon themselves, and even the U.S. Government has even reached out to them for funding.

However, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) rather appears uncomfortable with such claims of potentially effective local solutions to cure the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports that the NCDC, in an SMS to millions of Nigerians Thursday, April 30, had stated: “Please don’t consume any mixtures claiming to be COVID-19 vaccine.

“There is no approved drug or vaccine for COVID-19; these substances can cause harm.”

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