What exactly do Africans want in regards to COVID-19 treatment?

In April Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina announced that researchers in his country had discovered that a popular anti-malaria herb, artemisia, cures COVID-19. This discovery was made after a concoction dubbed Covid-Organics made from the herb was administered on two patients who reportedly got cured after seven days. Accordingly, those two patients were enough trials to warrant the Madagascan government to distribute Covid-Organic to every COVID-19 patient nationally – no further trials on the efficacy and safety of the drug was needed.

The decision by President Rajoelina to distribute Covid-Organic to COVID-19 patients in Madagascar caught the attention of WHO, forcing the World Health Organization to issue a warning against the concoction before thorough clinical trials are conducted.

The argument for not listening to WHO is based on the notion that artemisia is already being used to treat malaria so there should be no need to clinically test it for safety and efficacy on COVID-19. To lend support to this reasoning, an arguer has used the logic that many malaria drugs can already be taken even when one doesn’t suffer from malaria, so typically a malaria treatment like that extracted from artemisia should just be administered. On efficacy, no one seems interested in questioning whether the two patients that are said to have been cured by Covid-organic are part of those who could have gotten better even if the concoction was not administered.

Africans not being concerned about safety is rather ironic. In late March and early April, many Africans were up in arms against a suggestion that COVID-19 vaccines should also be tested in Africa. The general feeling was that Africa must not be a testing ground for Western concocted vaccines – that although the Western world was already conducting trials on their own citizens, the hot blooded Africans reasoned that the West should just try their vaccines on their people, and leave Africa out of it. This rage stemmed from safety concerns, concerns that the very Africans do not want to abide by when it comes to testing concoctions concocted in Africa.

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On the efficacy of the drug, the Africans seem to have forgotten the craze around hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that Trump hurriedly forced FAO to approve as an effective treatment for coronavirus patients in the US. Upon said approval, people across the world including Nigeria rushed to their pharmacies and bought all the hydroxychloroquine in the stores, denying the patients who actually needed the drug access to the medication.

The rush for hydroxychloroquine forced researchers to conduct scientifically controlled tests, and results came out a few hours ago concluding that “people infected with COVID-19 taking hydroxychloroquine do not fare better than those not receiving the drug”, a conclusion that is likely true for Covid-Organics.

Now, if Covid-Organics happens to have non-effects just like hydroxychloroquine, then we are setting ourselves into real danger here – with the danger being that countries that believe in the effectiveness of Covid-Organics (even without trials), will open up their economies, people will interact casually, and coronavirus will continue spreading like wildwind.

That’s not a problem though as far as I am concerned, as I am one of the few who believe that the lockdowns, the curfews, the social distancing, and the face masks are doing zero at helping control the spread of coronavirus, based on the assumption that by the time any country records their patient zero, enough of the citizens already have the virus such that no social distancing measures can help slow let alone curb its spread. The real problem is giving those who have tested positive false hope – that they have been given a cure yet in the real sense the drug administered on them is no different from a placebo.

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If Africans wanted to act smarter, then they could have first conducted mass clinical trials before announcing that they have found a cure for a disease that has brought the entire globe to a halt.

Africans not being concerned about safety is rather ironic. In late March and early April, many Africans were up in arms against a suggestion that COVID-19 vaccines should also be tested in Africa. The general feeling was that Africa must not be a testing ground for Western concocted vaccines – that although the Western world was already conducting trials on their own citizens, the hot blooded Africans reasoned that the West should just try their vaccines on their people, and leave Africa out of it. This rage stemmed from safety concerns, concerns that the very Africans do not want to abide by when it comes to testing concoctions concocted in Africa.

On the efficacy of the drug, the Africans seem to have forgotten the craze around hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that Trump hurriedly forced FAO to approve as an effective treatment for coronavirus patients in the US. Upon said approval, people across the world including Nigeria rushed to their pharmacies and bought all the hydroxychloroquine in the stores, denying the patients who actually needed the drug access to the medication.

The rush for hydroxychloroquine forced researchers to conduct scientifically controlled tests, and results came out a few hours ago concluding that “people infected with COVID-19 taking hydroxychloroquine do not fare better than those not receiving the drug”, a conclusion that is likely true for Covid-Organics.

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Now, if Covid-Organics happens to have non-effects just like hydroxychloroquine, then we are setting ourselves into real danger here – with the danger being that countries that believe in the effectiveness of Covid-Organics (even without trials), will open up their economies, people will interact casually, and coronavirus will continue spreading like wildwind.

That’s not a problem though as far as I am concerned, as I am one of the few who believe that the lockdowns, the curfews, the social distancing, and the face masks are doing zero at helping control the spread of coronavirus, based on the assumption that by the time any country records their patient zero, enough of the citizens already have the virus such that no social distancing measures can help slow let alone curb its spread. The real problem is giving those who have tested positive false hope – that they have been given a cure yet in the real sense the drug administered on them is no different from a placebo.

If Africans wanted to act smarter, then they could have first conducted mass clinical trials before announcing that they have found a cure for a disease that has brought the entire globe to a halt.

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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