The authorities in Nigeria say it could not find evidence in the tests that it had done so far that COVID-Organics, Madagascar’s herbal tonic touted as a coronavirus cure, actually works.
But officials at Nigeria’s National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), who analysed the product, say its tests were not exhaustive.
In May, bottles of COVID Organics were given to Nigeria and several other African countries by Madagascar, but President Muhammadu Buhari said he would not sanction its use in his country until it had been approved by the relevant health agencies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had also said that there was no proof of a cure for Covid-19 after Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina launched the herbal mixture, which is produced from the artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment – and other Malagasy plants.
“This investigation revealed that the product had some effect in helping mucus expectoration from the trachea (helping people cough out) and also reduced fever in the animals it was tested on,” Dr Obi Adigwe, head of NIPRD told the BBC.
But he said the NIPRD had advised the Nigerian government that it could not find any evidence to support the claim that the product can be used to prevent or cure Covid-19.
“If we had time and resources, it is possible that we could still find some evidence,” Dr Adigwe said.
Nigeria has now recorded more than 37,000 cases of the coronavirus and over 800 people have died.