At least 55 COVID-19 patients in Madagascar have recovered after being treated with the country’s herbal remedy for the disease.
The number of COVID-19 patients said to have been “cured” with the drug — which is bottled as herbal tea — rose after three recoveries were announced on Saturday.
According to L’Express de Madagascar, the patients were among those that were administered the drug known as COVID-Organics since it was launched in April.
It did not state if there was any supplementary treatment, but reported that “treatment of (COVID-19) patients has been based” on the drug since it was introduced.
“The same day that the CVO herbal tea was launched, two coronavirus patients who consumed it came out cured,” L’Express de Madagascar reported.
“Until yesterday, fifty-five people have been declared cured since the adoption of CVO herbal tea treatment twenty days ago.”
It added that to aid the fight against COVID-19, the drug is being distributed freely in parts of the country.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT MADAGASCAR’S ‘COVID-19 DRUG?’
Launched on April 20, the COVID-Organics was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA). Its main ingredient is said to be sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), a plant of Asian origin from where the antimalarial drug, artemisinin, came.
Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina said at the launch that the effectiveness of the drug has been proved.
“All trials and tests have been conducted and its effectiveness in reducing the elimination of symptoms has been proven for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 in Madagascar,” Rajoelina had said.
COVID-Organics is now being distributed to some African countries, and Nigeria hinted it might ask for the drug as well.
But the herbal remedy has remained a subject of controversy Madagascar’s national medical academy had cast doubt on its efficacy while the World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to warn against the use of any unapproved drug.
Of the 193 COVID-19 cases so far recorded in Madagascar, 101 have recovered while none has died.
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