WHO Sanctions Protocol for Testing Herbal Medicines Against Coronavirus
The world is spiraling amid the coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted the entire global system, while the scientists are desperately trying to find a cure for the virus. Many vaccine candidates are under trials, but a cure is nowhere to be seen yet. The World Health Organization (WHO) has sanctioned a protocol for trials of African herbal medicines as possible treatments for the coronavirus.
This decision comes as the coronavirus has raised the issue of using traditional medicines to fight current diseases, and the sanction clearly stimulated testing with standards similar to those used for molecules developed by labs in Asia, Europe or the Americas.
The WHO experts and colleagues from two other organisations have sanctioned a protocol for phase III clinical trials of herbal medicine for coronavirus. Phase III clinical trials are crucial in completely evaluating the safety and efficacy of a new medical product.
Prosper Tumusiime, a regional WHO director, said,
If a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality-assured, WHO will recommend (it) for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing. The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines.
The WHO has partnered with the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs for this.
In May, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said that African governments had devoted in 2000 to taking “traditional therapies” through the same clinical trials as other medication. Moeti said that the authorities understand the need to find a cure to the pandemic.
The 25-members of the Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 are assigned with the task of supporting countries to improve research and development of traditional medicine-based therapies against the disease and deliver supervision on the execution of the approved protocols to create scientific evidence on the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for coronavirus.