The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged Madagascar to scientifically test a herbal remedy; one that President Andry Rajoelina has claimed can cure the coronavirus.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa director, made the call on Thursday.
“We have offered to support the design of a study to look into this product.”
Moeti said that officials of the global body had met with the president of Madagascar; as well as health minister. Thereafter, they discussed the conditions under which such a study could take place to determine the authenticity of the product.
“We are not discouraging the product but we would like for it to be tried out. So when we are (making it broadly available), it’s based on some evidence,” the director said.
The herbal remedy, called “COVID Organics,” also prepared by the Malagasy Institute for Applied Research, is made out of artemisia, a plant cultivated on the Indian Ocean island.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence, Rajoelina touted that the remedy has already cured some Madagascans of COVID-19.
Children returning to school have been required to take it.
“This plant strengthens immunity and protects against numerous viruses; and fever; and especially lung diseases,” Rajoelina said.
Equally important though, the institute’s director general, Charles Andrianjara has spoken only of the remedy being preventative.
The remedy is being distributed for free to vulnerable people and sold commercially.