After the claim by Madagascar to have found the local cure for COVID-19, the president, Mr. Jean-Louis Rakotonandrasana had lifted the lockdown.
Madagascar becomes the second country on the continent to lift its lockdown after Ghana did the same two Sundays ago.
Baptized COVID-Organics is the name of the local drug, the tonic is derived from artemisia – a plant with proven efficacy in treating malaria – as well as other indigenous herbs.
It has been developed by the Madagascar Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) but has not been tested internationally. “This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” Mr. Rajoelina announced at its official launch on Tuesday.
“We can change the history of the entire world,” he said, after downing a dose. “Two people have now been cured by this treatment.”
Mainstream scientists have warned of the potential risk from untested herbal brews. There is currently no known cure for coronavirus, which has infected at least 121 people in Madagascar and more than 2.6 million worldwide.
Madagascar deployed the army last month to help enforce a lockdown in its three main cities to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Soldiers who set up roadblocks and patrolled streets are now making sure everyone receives a sachet of the infusion and instructions for use.
Madagascar’s coronavirus cases remain relatively low and there have been no recorded deaths so far. But the country’s fragile healthcare system would easily be swamped by a surge in cases and authorities are banking on prevention.
Their aim is to raise awareness about the virus and strengthen people’s immune systems. The WHO has cautioned against untested home therapies.
“While some western, traditional, or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of Covid-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease,” it said in an e-mailed statement to AFP.
It added that there are “several ongoing clinical trials” of both western and traditional medicines.
The homespun “remedy” was launched as confinement measures were progressively lifted. The president said the lockdown was eased because a “solution against coronavirus” had been found.
Public transport resumed in Antananarivo on Monday and schools reopened on Wednesday. Some children were given a cup of COVID-Organics in class.
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