Yesterday the World Health Organization approved a protocol regulating testing of African herbal medicines as potential treatments for Coronavirus and other epidemic diseases.

The spread of Covid-19 has raised the issue of the use of traditional medicines in treating contemporary diseases, and the World Health Organization’s approval clearly encourages tests with standards similar to those used in laboratories.

Months ago, the President of Madagascar, Andre Rajoelina, was scorned after his attempt to promote the “Covid-Organics” drink, which is extracted from the wormwood plant (Artemisia), to treat the Corona virus, despite the proven effectiveness of the plant in treating malaria.

And on Saturday, experts from the Health Organization, together with colleagues from two other African organizations, approved “a protocol for conducting third-stage clinical trials of herbal medicines to treat Covid-19, in addition to a charter and powers to establish a safety monitoring board and collect data for clinical trials on herbal medicines,” according to a statement.

The statement pointed out that “the third phase of clinical tests (a group of up to 3,000 people will be tested) is pivotal to fully assess the safety and efficacy of new medical products.

“If the safety, efficacy and quality of a traditional medicine product is proved, the World Health Organization will recommend it in order to quickly and widely manufacture it locally,” the statement quoted WHO Regional Director Prosper Tomosemi.

The organization approved the protocol in partnership with the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs.

“The emergence of Covid-19, such as the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, highlighted the need for strong health systems and rapid research and development programs, including traditional medicine,” Tomosimi added.

The WHO official did not mention the Madagascar chief drink, which was widely distributed in Madagascar and sold to many other countries, especially in Africa.

In May, the Director of the World Health Organization in Africa, Machidiso Moeti, told the media that African governments had committed in 2000 to subjecting “traditional treatments” to the same clinical trials as other drugs.

“I can understand the need and motives to search for something that can help,” he added, adding, “But we very much want to encourage scientific tests that governments themselves have committed to.”