The World Health Organization (WHO) has agreed on rules for testing African medicinal plants to fight Covid-19.
Solid science would be the only basis for adopting safe and effective traditional therapies, he said.
All traditional remedies deemed effective could be expedited for large-scale manufacture.
The leader of Madagascar has been promoting an untested product that he says can cure the disease despite the WHO warning against using untested remedies.
The WHO said the new rules were aimed at helping and empowering African scientists to conduct appropriate clinical trials.
The move comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide exceeds 30 million, with global deaths reported rising to more than 957,000. In Africa, there have been more than 1.3 million cases and more of 33,000 reported deaths.
About 140 potential Covid-19 vaccines are in development around the world, and dozens are already being tested on people in clinical trials.
‘Speed up research’
Along with these efforts, the green light has now been given for three sentence clinical trials using traditional African medicines.
A group of experts, set up by WHO, the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission on Social Affairs agreed protocols.
Phase three trials typically test the safety and effectiveness of a drug in larger groups of participants.
“The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of Covid-19 is generated without compromising the safety of the participants,” said Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa, chair of the panel.
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“The appearance of Covid-19, like the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, has highlighted the need to strengthen health systems and accelerate research and development programs, including on traditional medicines, ”WHO’s Dr Prosper Tumusiime said in the statement.
In April, the President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, launched Covid-Organics with great fanfare, saying it was a prevention and a cure. It had been tested on 20 people over a period of three weeks.
Mr Rajoelina supports the herbal concoction, although the Indian Ocean island has had 15,925 coronavirus infections and 216 Covid-19 deaths.
The drink, which has also been sent to dozens of African countries, is produced by the Madagascan Institute for Applied Research from the artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient used in a treatment for malaria – and others. Malagasy plants.
Dr Tumusiime said that through the WHO African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, it was now possible to assess and approve clinical trials of drugs in the region in less than 60 days.