The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) are collaborating to enhance research and development of traditional medicines for COVID-19 in Africa.
WHO Regional Office for Africa in a statement issued from its headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo stated that to achieve this feat they have launched a Regional Expert Committee to provide independent scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine therapies. The 25-member Committee will support countries in collaborative efforts to conduct clinical trials of traditional medicines in compliance with international standards.
According to the statement, the experts' committee will start work immediately. "Developing a master protocol to guide countries on clinical trials for COVID-19 and setting the agenda to support Member States will be among the initial tasks." the announcement states.
Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC and WHO Special Envoy on COVID-19 noted that “WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits and Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations.”
“By pooling expertise within the continent, the Regional Expert Committee will accelerate the pace and elevate the standards of research, particularly clinical research on new therapies from traditional medicines against COVID-19,” he added.
This comes after Madagascar claimed to have produced an herbal tonic from a plant in May that is effective for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 despite the World Health Organization’s warning that it has not been subjected to any scientific testing.
As the world races to find treatment and vaccines against the virus, research into traditional and orthodox medicines as potential COVID-19 therapy must be grounded in science, and this marks an important step in supporting these endeavors.
Photo courtesy / Unsplash (Tiard Schulz)
Article by Research Beeline correspondent