The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged Madagascar to scientifically test a herbal remedy, which President Andry Rajoelina claims can cure the coronavirus.
WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti made the call on Thursday.
“We have offered to support the design of a study to look into this product,” Moeti said.
Moeti said that officials of the global body had met with the president and health minister to discuss under which conditions such a study could take place to determine the efficacy of the product.
“We are not discouraging the product but we would like for it to be tried out. So when we are (making it broadly available), it’s based on some evidence,” the director said.
The herbal remedy, called “COVID Organics” and prepared by the Malagasy Institute for Applied Research, is made out of artemisia, a plant cultivated on the Indian Ocean island.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence, Rajoelina touted that the remedy has already cured some Madagascans of COVID-19.
Children returning to school have been required to take it.
“This plant strengthens immunity and protects against numerous viruses and fever and especially lung diseases,” Rajoelina said.
Meanwhile, the institute’s director general, Charles Andrianjara has spoken only of the remedy being preventative.
The remedy is being distributed for free to vulnerable people and sold commercially.
In early May, Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced that he had placed an order for “COVID Organics.”