“We must move forward at our own pace, we must above all have confidence in ourselves and in the therapeutic virtues of nature, for nature and man are one.”
– Professor Albert Rakoto Ratsimamanga (Founder, Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, IMRA).
The researchers at Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) are responsible for the Madagascar COVID-19 “Miracle Cure” on everyone’s lips. As a testament to the public’s positive disposition towards the herbal remedy, it has already found home in six other African countries including Nigeria.
When the Madagascan COVID-Organics landed in Nigeria from Guinea-Bissau, it was met with mixed feelings. This came before NAFDAC received four other herbal formulations produced here in Nigeria for laboratory analysis.
Regardless of the negative publicity surrounding the herbal COVID-19 remedy, traditional medicine remains an indispensable part of our health sector, both in Africa and the rest of the world. In a December 2014 study, 65% to 80% of the world’s healthcare practice involves the use of traditional medicine.
The IMRA research centre is famed for their expertise in combining traditional and modern medicine to produce efficacious drugs. The COVID-Organics will not be their first, they have some fifty approved drugs in their portfolio including the anitidiabetic, Madeglucyl and cough suppressant, Madetoxin.
In Madagascar, unlike many other countries, traditional practice takes centre role in their health sector. In fact, the Madagascar Research Institute, IMRA, is recognised by the WHO and a number of world class health bodies in Europe.
It was learnt that the President of Madagascar began very early to engage the country’s finest researchers to come up with an improved traditional remedy for COVID-19 made up of artemisia and other endemic medicinal plants.
This idea to research artemisia did not come out of the blues. This was based off its use in China and past use in the SARS-Coronavirus.
In the heat of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, both chloroquine and artemisia looked promising as potential drugs. Also during the 2002 SARS-Coronavirus, artemisia was the second most potent herbal medicine used. And the 2019-novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is very similar to the SARS-Coronavirus.
Artemisia remains an interesting subject of a significant number of research studies. According to statistics, publications on artemisia grew to 712% in 2010 with India as a leading contributor of literature on the herbal plant.
Currently, that number should have gone up by now with studies being carried out in China, United States, Denmark and Germany at the moment.
It is only normal that citing such strong evidence, that the Madagascan government pushes its drug experts and researchers to study this plant further.
It is important to know that the Madagascar’s COVID-19 Organics is actually the effort of a nation’s special breed of scientists and researchers.
However, the international community has maintained a condescending attitude towards the COVID-19 Organics. WHO has repeatedly warned against the use of the herbal cure especially in the absence of a well documented scientific evidence and rigorous clinical trials.
This brings into light one of the major challenges herbal drug promulgators have to constantly deal with and one traditional medicine can rise above through proper documentation of process.
Much doubts remain about the Madagascar “cure”. In the absence of a proven treatment for COVID-19, the search for the miracle cure continues.