COVID-Organics is a herbal medicine developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research as a COVID 19 remedy. For more than 40 years, the Malagasy Institute for Applied Research has been investigating Madagascar’s traditional medicines and food plants. Today, it is among Madagascar’s leading research institutions. It is by far the best-equipped center in Madagascar dedicated to biodiversity conservation and the discovery of drugs from natural products. Madagascar has 128 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, with no deaths, and over 90 recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
According to information from the Presidency of the Republic of Madagascar, many African countries have indicated interest in the remedy. Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Guinea Bissau are among those who have enquired details about the CVO. Senegal President Macky Sall has ordered the remedy after contacting his Madagascar counterpart, according to Senegalese local media.
COVID-Organics is primarily made up of two ingredients artemisia and ravensara. Artemisia an abundant plant on the Island of Madagascar is a medicinal plant whose use has long been reported in China, where it is locally known as qinghao. It is now grown commercially in many African countries. Also known as Sweet wormwood, A. annua yields artemisinin, and the derivatives of this compound are potent antimalarial drugs. Artemisia annua has long been used for the treatment of malaria. The plant’s antimalarial properties were first identified in 340 BC as part of traditional Chinese medicine, according to expert Zhou Yiqing from the Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology of the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences. Zhou’s research in the 1970s led to the plant’s application against the mosquito-borne disease.
Ravensara on the other hand is a genus of trees and shrubs of the family Lauraceae and endemic to the island of Madagascar (Central and Eastern regions) and the Comoro Islands. The bark, leaves, and fruit of the various species are rich in aromatic essential oils. The best-known species is Ravensara aromatica, the essential oil extracted from the leaves is used for a wide variety of conditions in medicine.
The powerful antiviral properties of its essential oil have been reported to strengthen the immune system; it can also be used to treat ‘flu and respiratory symptoms. It also appears to be an excellent muscle and nerve tonic. The aroma of Ravensara essential oil is similar to but not as strong as the common Blue Gum Eucalyptus oil.
Why COVID Organics is Being Promoted as a Cure
Herbal treatments used in Traditional Chinese Medicine were explored to treat coronavirus infections during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. Initial studies in China showed the alcoholic extract of Artemisia annua was the second most potent herbal medicine used on the 2005 SARS. COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus that is contagious in humans.
COVID-Organics made from Artemisia annua and ravensara was deployed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research for the treatment of COVID 19 because of the similarity between the coronavirus strain implicated in SARS and the one implicated in the recent pandemic.
According to Andry Rajoelina Madagascar’s President, the herbal tea (COVID-Organics) has cured two patients who tested positive already.” This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” said the 45-year-old president, who also urged people to use it as a preventative measure.
The WHO Caution
Following Rajoelina’s claims, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised people against using untested remedies for COVID-19. According to a statement released by the United Nations health agency “Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world,”.
WHO went further to state that “Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical,” The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also warned people against using unproven remedies. According to the center, “There is no scientific evidence that any of these alternative remedies can prevent or cure the illness caused by COVID-19. In fact, some of them may not be safe to consume,” the CDC said.
Meanwhile, the African Union said it was in discussion with Madagascar with a view to obtaining technical data regarding the safety and efficiency of the herbal remedy.