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No COVID-19 cure in African traditional medicine – WHO

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WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has warned those that seek COVID-19 cure in traditional African medicine.

  The international health agency gave the warning in a statement it released yesterday against the backdrop of the new herbal drug receiving global attention from Madagascan President, Andry Rajoelina, who announced that his country had gotten a cure for COVID -19.

  According to the release, while it supports scientifically proven traditional medicine, there is still a need to test for the efficacy and side effects of the newly touted drug.

  “WHO recognises that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits and Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations. Medicinal plants, such as Artemisia annua, are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects,” it said.

  The release further explained that the herbal mix has not been scientifically tested yet, but many African countries have announced placing orders for it.

Speaking on its support for countries since outbreak of COVID-19, WHO said it will still do more to prop up people.

  “Over the past two decades, WHO has been working with countries to ensure safe and effective traditional medicine development in Africa by providing financial resources and technical support.  WHO has supported clinical trials, leading 14 countries to issue marketing authorisation for 89 traditional medicine products which have met international and national requirements for registration. Of these, 43 have been included in national essential medicines lists. These products are now part of the arsenal to treat patients with a wide range of diseases including malaria, opportunistic infections related to HIV, diabetes, sickle cell disease and hypertension. Almost all countries in the WHO African region have national traditional medicine policies, following support from WHO,” it added.

  But Rajoelina, at the official launch of the herbal mix, “Baptised Covid-Organics,” said the tonic is derived from artemisia – a plant with proven efficacy in treating malaria – as well as other indigenous herbs. He said it was developed by the Madagascar Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) but has not been tested internationally.

  “This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” he said.

  Meanwhile, Nigeria toll of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 2,802.  The figure was marked after the country recorded 245 new cases of the novel coronavirus yesterday.

  A tweet by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that that of the total figure, number of deaths is now 93 while the total discharged cases are 417.

  Out of the 245 new cases, Lagos has 76 Katsina 37, Jigawa 32, Kano 23, FCT 19, Borno 18.

  Others are Edo 10, Bauchi 9, Adamawa 6, Oyo 5 while  Ogun ,Ekiti, Osun Benue Niger and Zamfara States recorded one case each.

According to NCDC, nine cases previously announced as discharged cases, were reported in error. Therefore, there are 417 cases that have been discharged

  One case reported in Nasarawa was a repeat test. The state has a total of 11 confirmed cases.

  In a related development, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said yesterday that the health workers in the state had collected at least 3,000 samples for COVID-19 testing.

  The governor disclosed this at a media briefing.

  According to him, the state government would embark on aggressive testing in the communities in the ongoing efforts to effectively tackle the virus at the state level.

  “We have 3,000 samples collected but we have not been able to carry out the test because of the global shortage of reagents for molecular testing. We are hoping that some of the reagents will be supplied on Tuesday. We made an order for more reagents because of the cases we have seen and it would not be out of place to see positive cases in the range of 20 percent out of the 3,000 samples collected. We are improving the capacity of our isolation facilities in preparation to take care of more patients. We are hoping that some of the reagents will be supplied by Tuesday. Once these 3,000 cases are taken care of, you might see up to 600 positive cases. But we are planning and preparing to take care of it. We are improving the capacity of our isolation facilities in preparation to take care of more patients,” he said.

  Meanwhile, global deaths from the coronavirus pandemic topped a quarter-million today, mostly in the US and Europe even as both regions slowly moved away from lockdown and world leaders raised billions towards a vaccine.

  Official figures showed that Europe is the hardest-hit continent with around 145,000 fatalities, and the United States recorded close to 68,700 — together accounting for more than 85 percent of global fatalities.

  An internal government estimate in Washington forecasts an even worsening number of fatalities for the country. It said the daily COVID-19 death toll could double by the end of May.

  An internal study by the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention predicted that new coronavirus cases will surge more than eight-fold to 200,000 per day by June 1, and the toll could rise to 3,000 a day, up from the current 1,000-2,000.

  That could more than double the number of US coronavirus deaths, now at about 69,000, over the next few months.

Trump claimed Sunday that the United States will have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of the year.

  The war of words between the United States and China over responsibility for the pandemic continued, with China’s state broadcaster attacking US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “insane” remarks in which he said the virus originated at a laboratory in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic first emerged.

  But World Health Organisation (WHO) said it had received no evidence on the “speculative” Wuhan lab claims.

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