The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 hopes that thePphase III clinical trials of herbal medicines will begin in October. The committee was formed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs.

The panel has endorsed the protocol for Phase III clinical trials as well as a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board.

Expert panel endorses protocol for COVID-19 herbal clinical trials: 

If a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality-assured, the WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing.

Dr Ossy Kasilo, the WHO Regional Adviser for the Traditional Medicine programme says some countries such as South Africa are awaiting permission to proceed to phase III trials.

“We have identified some of the countries; for example Madagascar, which will test COVID-19 organics which will contain Artemisia and other two indigenous medicinal plants. Several countries will be participating. That’s why it’s called a mass protocol which will be evaluating the same product which is COVID-19 organics. We hope that within 12 months or so from the onset of the Phase III clinical trials, we should be able to get a result. There are those in Phase I, there are those in Phase III such as Benin, DRC, Nigeria, South Africa and Guinea.”

The use of Artemisia to fight COVID-19 in rural areas on the increase: