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Madagascar herb cannot cure COVID-19 – Health minister

Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, says there is no evidence that COVID-Organics (CVO), the herbal remedy from Madagascar, contains properties which can cure COVID-19 patients.

Ehanire disclosed this during the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar, in April, officially launched CVO, claiming that it could prevent and cure patients of the coronavirus.

Countries in Africa such as Tanzania, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria had received supplies of the herbal drink.

Upon receiving a shipment of the remedy, President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 16, had said the CVO would undergo scientific verification before it would be administered on COVID-19 patients in Nigeria.

A report by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), on July 19, disclosed that safety studies show that the CVO cannot cure coronavirus.

“CVO reduced cough frequency with the maximum dose tested, producing an effect equivalent to that produced by the centrally acting cough-suppressant, dihydrocodeine,” Obi Adigwe, director-general, NIPRD, had said.

Speaking at the PTF briefing on Thursday, Ehanire cited the final report of NIPRD’s evaluation of the Madagascar remedy.

“The initial temporary result had shown that its main ingredient is the same as Artemisia Annua, which is grown in Nigeria, while the preparation at high dose showed activity in reducing frequency of cough,” the minister said.

“It did not show any evidence that it has a real curative property against the COVID-19 virus.”

Ehanire added that the federal government will continue to support all genuine efforts towards finding local cure for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, despite its herbal remedy, coronavirus infections have continued to spread in Madagascar, with hospitals announcing that they can no longer cope with the influx of patients.

On July 5, President Rajoelina had reimposed a lockdown on the country’s central region until July 26.

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