Uganda turns to herbs in search for Covid-19 cure

The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has welcomed the natural Covid-19 clinical treatment trials as modifying the body with natural remedies to fight the virus is a big boost. PHOTO | AFP | FILE

What you need to know:

  • African remedies. On April 22, the president of Madagascar, Mr Andry Rajoelina, officially launched a local herbal remedy claimed to prevent and cure coronavirus, a move that attracted mixed reactions.
  • In September, WHO endorsed a protocol for testing African herbal medicines as potential treatments for the coronavirus and other epidemics.
  • At least 300 herbal remedies for Covid-19 have been submitted by herbalists to the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute. However (NCRI) was not willing to comment on this matter.

Uganda is considering natural Covid-19 clinical treatment trials as the search for an effective treatment for the pandemic continues.

In an interview with Daily Monitor on Wednesday, Dr Monica Musenero, the senior presidential adviser on epidemics, said this treatment that is yet to be launched is made using natural products unlike the previous treatments that involve manufactured drugs.

“We only take the ingredients to the factory to mix the ratios that we have. Natural is like you have got it from a plant. We are going to start with 20 people and then we broaden the number to 200,” Dr Musenero said.

She added: “Now that we have more people falling sick, we need a treatment. People have looked for drugs in different ways, we have had hydroxychloroquine, we also researched what we have and got the history of natural chemotherapeutic (drugs majorly made from plants).”

Dr Musenero said they are still fixing some gaps and analysing how far they have gone in addressing the concerns to see if the clinical trials can kick off next week.

This natural treatment is expected to kill the virus. The clinical trials are to be tried out in experimental setting at different stages to establish at what stage the treatment is beneficial, according to government.

“If it benefits mild cases and may be clears the virus early, then we can opt to distribute it to people under home care. If it helps people who are severely ill then that’s what we are going to do. We know the products are safe, we know the dosages which work, we are now going to look at does it really make a difference,” Dr Musenero said.

Uganda is currently in stage four of the pandemic with wide community spread. Some of the districts that have registered high Covid-19 cases include Kampala, Waksio, Amuru, Gulu, Tororo, and Moroto.

The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has welcomed the natural Covid-19 clinical treatment trials as modifying the body with natural remedies to fight the virus is a big boost.

Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the general secretary UMA, said this natural treatment should be subjected to the most vigorous tests to be able to see how it can be integrated in the main health system later.

“We have a lot of technology, information, history using natural remedies and learning them and knowing how they work best would be a very big step. When you go to  either China or India, this is even becoming an industry on its own,” Dr Muhereza said yesterday.

Uganda has registered more than 3,100 cases with over 10,000 recoveries. Globally over 78million people have been infected with coronavirus disease while at least 55 million have recovered.

Meanwhile Ministry of Health working with regional partners will start genome surveillance for the new strain to determine its prevalence in the country.