Just in: Madagascar Records First COVID-19 Death as Herbal Drink Gains Ground

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 17- Madagascar on Sunday reported the first death of a patient suffering from novel coronavirus nearly two months after it was first detected in the country, official statistics showed.

The Indian ocean African island which has reported 304 cases has hit the headlines over a home-grown herbal concoction that President Andry Rajoelina claims can cure people infected with the virus.

Several African countries, including Nigeria have ordered or expressed interest in the purported remedy, which is known as Covid-Organics.

The tonic drink is derived from artemisia — a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment — and other indigenous herbs.

The drug was delivered to President Muhammadu Buhari by President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau at the State House, Abuja on Friday.

Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman, quoted Buhari as saying the drug will go through the verification process which other remedies for the disease are being subjected to.

“We have our institutions, systems, and processes in the country. Any such formulations should be sent to them for verification. I will not put it to use without the endorsement of our institutions,” Buhari said.

Today’s Echo reported that the World Health Organization(WHO) had announced that it was considering Artemisia Annua, the plant from which Madagascar’s herbal drink was made, as a possible COVID-19 treatment.

Read Also: WHO Considers Madagascar’s Herbal Drink as Possible Treatment for COVID-19

The WHO, however, warned against “adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy”.

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