Andry Rajoelina who is the President of Madagascar on April 20 appeared to be in support of using an unproven herb to cure COVID-19. The herb , which has been named COVID-ORGANICS, seems to be effective against the virus, Rajoelina said, he was speaking at the launch of the product in their countries capital Antananarivo. He went on to say that the herb is very good for the immune system for it strengthens it.
The president’s office ignored Mongabay’s request who is looking for more information that supports the effectiveness of the product in curing covid-19. However the president went on on his social media page and shared pictures of the product. The product is a liquid which appears to be dark amber in colour and it was in bottles labelled COVID-ORGANICS and Tisane Bio. The term tisane means herbal teas.
The main ingredient in the concoction is taken from Artemisia annua or sweet wormwood, it is a green leafy plant that produces a strong odor. It is believed that leaves from the plant when they are dry they have some medicinal properties in Madagascar. But it has not been proven to see if it actually works against COVID-19, a disease of the respiratory that has lead to the death of more than 165,000 lives and almost 2.5 million people across the world have been infected by it
Even though home remedies made from A. annua leaves have been said to cure malaria. However its use against malaria is also not truly proven as well. “WHO is against using the A. annua herb , in any form either being taken as tea, or as a treatment or as a cure to prevent malaria,” World Health Organization said in 2012 said on it’s position paper.The WHO’s office for Traditional and other Medicine had not given answers to questions about the use for the herb against COVID-19 by the time this article was published. However, artemisinin, a compound taken from the A. annua plant can be used as a combination with other drugs to treat malaria.
“As of now their is no evidence that l know of which proves that artemisinins can be used to treat COVID-19,” Arjen M. Dondorp, a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford told Mongabay in an email.
The picture also showed that the product bears the stamp of the Malagasy Institute for Applied Research (IMRA), where this controversial cure was developed.
Madagascar has so far recorded few number of confirmed COVID-19 cases — only 121 people out of a population of 26 million — and it has not reported any death as of April 20. The country declared a state emergency after the first case of the covid-19 emerged on March 20, and the major cities of Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa and Toamasina went on a lockdown. But on April 20 some limitations were relaxed in these cities.
He said the product will be given to the poor for free.
The rampant spread of the virus and the global economic fallout from measures to maintain it have caused a serious demand for a cure. However, so far no cure that is proven has emerged yet. The WHO has strongly warned against the spreading of wrong information and any miracle cures.