The World Health Organisation (WHO) has agreed rules for the testing of African herbal remedies to fight COVID-19, reports BBC News. Sound science would be the sole basis for safe and effective traditional therapies to be adopted, it said. Any traditional remedies that are judged effective could be fast-tracked for large-scale manufacturing.
Madagascar‘s leader has been promoting an untested product 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 scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials.
Around 140 potential vaccines for COVID-19 are being developed around the world, with dozens already being tested on people in clinical trials. And, BBC reports, alongside these efforts, the green light has now been given for phrase three clinical trials using African traditional medicines.
A panel of experts, set up by the WHO, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs, has agreed on the protocols.
Phase three trials usually test the safety and efficacy of a drug on 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 participants,” said Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa, the panel’s chair said.
If a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality-assured, WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing. Through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum there is now a benchmark upon which clinical trials of medicines and vaccines in the region can be assessed and approved in fewer than 60 days.
Full BBC News report
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