MADAGASCAR – The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated that there is not yet a specific antiviral treatment whose safety and effectiveness are proven to treat COVID-19.

Corticosteroids and medical oxygen remain essential in saving the lives of patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

WHO has developed treatment guidelines and implemented a robust methodology to not only assess new evidence gathered by countries, but also to make recommendations when it comes to new COVID-19 treatments.

If a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, effective and of guaranteed quality in randomized clinical trials, it will be considered for inclusion in WHO guidelines as a recommendation.

A recommendation on the use of a specific product can lead to accelerated and large-scale local manufacturing.

This is with regard to Madagascar’s Government recently published results of a Phase III clinical trial on the CVO+ remedy (Improved Traditional Remedy), in the form of capsules based on lyophilized extracts of Artemisia annua and other medicinal plants, which is intended for the treatment of mild and moderate forms of COVID-19.

WHO Madagascar congratulates the researchers, in particular the National Center for the Application of Pharmaceutical Research (CNARP) team for conducting the clinical trial in compliance with national regulations and the proposed research protocol.

In its role as the United Nations agency for public health, WHO in Madagascar provided technical support through the recruitment of a national consultant and a member of the national staff responsible for data management, and monitored the progress of the clinical trial to support the government in finding additional solutions in the fight against COVID-19.

Last year, in a joint effort to improve research and development of traditional medicines for COVID-19 in Africa, the WHO and the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) established a Regional Expert Advisory Committee to provide independent scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy, and quality of traditional medicine therapies.

The completion of the clinical trial in Madagascar provides data that the Committee of Experts will examine shortly and will give an independent scientific opinion on the results obtained, in accordance with the standards and procedures for clinical trials, and will advise on the next steps, as indicated to the Madagascar Government during the preparation of the clinical trial

WHO welcomes every opportunity to collaborate with countries and researchers to develop new treatments, and encourages such collaboration for the development of safe and effective therapies that can be used in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many advantages and that Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and traditional healers who play an important role in providing healthcare to the public.