The President of Madagascar, Mr Andry Rajoelina, displaying a bottle of the medication, Covid-Organics
Bottles of Covid-Organics: The President of Madagascar, Mr Andry Rajoelina asked researchers to come up with a locally made product, which they did in record time
Despite a warning by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there is currently no cure for COVID-19, the President of Madagascar, Mr Andry Rajoelina, on Monday launched a herbal medicine believed to cure and prevent the virus. It is known as COVID- Organics.
The herbal medicine, developed by Malagasy Institute of Applied Research and branded COVID-Organics, contains Artemisia- a plant on the Island used in the fight against malaria.
President Rajoelina said, “All trials and tests have been conducted and its effectiveness in reducing the elimination of symptoms have been proven for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 in Madagascar.”
Since school children in Madagascar returned to school on Wednesday, a presidential decree prior to their resumption stated that COVID- Organics is mandatory for them. The president also shared that the medicine had cured two COVID-19 cases.
“The COVID-Organics will be distributed free of charge to our most vulnerable compatriots and sold at very low prices to others. All profits will be donated to IMRA to finance scientific research,” the president wrote on Twitter.
“I’m convinced that, in fact, history will prove us, but today there are already two cases that have been cured with the COVID-organics, but we’ll actually see what happens next.”
“COVID Organics will be used in profilaxis, i.e. preventive, but clinical observations have shown a trend towards its effectiveness in curative, other clinical studies are currently underway,” he stressed at the launch.
Citizens rush herbal medication
Citizens of Madagascar on Thursday rushed out in numbers to collect the herbal medicine launched by Mr Rajoelina on Monday.
The AFP news agency showed Madagascans queuing for the medication, taking portions from officials in protective gear.
“The president said this remedy cures and we trust him so we drink it,” one woman who received her dose told the media.
“When I discovered this drink, I hesitated as a parent. I said to myself: ‘How come the sick people don’t drink it, and why do we make students drink it?’ I hesitated a lot,” another citizen quizzed.
In response to the launch of COVID-Organics, WHO told the BBC in a statement that they did not “recommend self-medication with any medicines as prevention or cure for COVID-19.”
WHO had earlier on warned governments not to treat coronavirus patients with medications not scientifically proven to treat the virus.
The President’s Chief of Staff, Rosa Ranoromaro, said that although Mr Rajoelina was aware of WHO’s warnings, “he has a duty to Malagasy people.”
Madagascar has a total of 121 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 59 recoveries, and no death.
COVID-Organics is being marketed in a bottle and as a herbal tea after being tested on fewer than 20 people over a period of three weeks, the president’s chief of staff Lova Hasinirina Ranoromaro told the BBC.
“Tests have been carried out – two people have now been cured by this treatment,” Mr Rajoelina said at the launch of Covid-Organics at the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (Imra), which developed the tonic.
“This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” said the 45-year-old president, who also urged people to use it as a preventative measure.
“Schoolchildren should be given this to drink… little by little throughout the day,” he told the diplomats and other dignitaries gathered for the launch.
Dr Charles Andrianjara, Imra’s director general, agreed that Covid-Organics should be used for prevention.
He was more cautious about its use as a cure, but said that clinical observations had shown “a trend towards its effectiveness as a curative remedy”, the AFP news agency quotes him as saying.
The Indian ocean island has so far recorded 121 cases of coronavirus, and no deaths.
In response to the launch of Covid-Organics, the WHO said, in a statement sent to the BBC, that the global organisation did not recommend “self-medication with any medicines… as a prevention or cure for Covid-19”.
It reiterated earlier comments by WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that there were “no short-cuts” to finding effective mediation to fight coronarvirus.
International trials were under way to find an effective treatment, the WHO added.
Ms Ranoromaro said President Rajoelina was aware that the WHO had to abide by its protocols but said it came down to a matter of sovereignty.
“He has duty to Malagasy people,” she said.