Covid-19: WHO warns against unproven traditional remedies

PARIS: The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that medicinal plants such as, touted as possible treatments for Covid-19, should be tested for efficacy and side effects.

The WHO said it supported scientifically proven traditional medicine, adding that complementary and alternative medicine had many benefits.

The race to find a cure for Covid-19 has sparked renewed interest in plants like Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood.

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina is promoting a plant-based cure. Although the herbal blend has not yet been scientifically proven, the heads of several African countries have announced to order or receive shipments of it.

Even if the therapies are derived from traditional and natural practice, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical, the WHO regional office for sub-Saharan Africa said in the statement.

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The WHO said it was working with research institutions to select traditional medicine products that can be investigated for their clinical efficacy and safety for the treatment of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

He said caution should be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies, as efforts were underway to find treatment for Covid-19.

Many plants and substances are proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy, he said.

He added that using products that have not been thoroughly investigated could put people at risk, give them a false sense of security and distract themselves from preventive measures.

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