Madagascar might be one of the smallest countries on the continent but the island nation became the biggest trending topic in Africa over the weekend. The reason? The government and its people strongly believe that they have a working cure for Covid-19 and Africans want the rest of the world to know.
It was early in the month of April when Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina announced to the world that his countrymen and women and created a working cure for the novel coronavirus which has ravaged the world. At the time, his claims were dismissed as nonsensical at best, and fake news at worst, but he was not done trying to convert public opinion.
By the beginning of May, however, Madagascar’s purported cure was starting to gain far more attention – bolstered by even more claims that the cure was indeed working – as Rajoelina revealed that two previously confirmed ill patients had tested negative for Covid-19 since taking the anti-virus.
The “cure” has also been shipped to Equitorial Guinea and has caught the attention of other African governments with the latest reports suggesting that Tanzania’s president John Magufuli is interested in importing the would-be antivirus.
Despite the attention that the herbal mixture has received, it is still regarded as an unproven medicine with Western nations proving to be unconvinced or uninterested in its effectiveness or lack thereof.
Despite this, we have done our part to learn more about Madagascar’s miracle cure in a bid to determine if it should be taken more seriously.
What is in the cure?
The cure is called Covid Organics or CVO for short and is a herbal tea which can be manufactured in masses. The specific herb in question is called Artemesia Annua, and has been used to cure a range of illnesses on the island for over 50 years. It’s properties in combating malaria have been well documented in the past.
It is this same herb, along with a mixture of other traditional ingredients, which has proven to be the star of the concoction – with local scientists backing it’s immune boosting properties.
…does it work?
That’s difficult to answer! Many homeopathic medicines often fail to overcome the scrutiny of the medical and scientific worlds – but avid users will still attest to their effectiveness.
As it stands, reports claim that two COVID-19 patients have been cured of the virus in the past month and Mauritius currently has a very low tally of 128 cases of the coronavirus with over 82 recoveries. Whether the miracle tea is the reason why is hard to tell – but the government has wasted no time in ramping up the PR. And it’s worked.
Who has tried it so far?
Mainly nationals of Madagascar. Since it was first announced as a possible cure, CVO has gone on to sell out in many regions of the country. Production has been scaled up to meet the rapidly rising demand.
Can other governments try it?
Rajoelina has not been selfish with his purported cure. In fact, the Malagasy president has offered it to the rest of Africa for further trials and prescribed usage.
Along with Tanzania’s Magufuli, Senegalese president Macky Sall has also registered his interest
Why isn’t the WHO investigating?
The World Health Organisation has played a key role in advising nations on how best to contain the novel coronavirus. Part of their approach has been to adopt a strictly conservative attitude towards what may be seen as fly-by-night treatments in a bid to carefully evaluate all possible cures and vaccines before recommending them for widespread use.
It is then no surprise that their immediate reaction to Madagascar’s news of a cure was to urge caution.
In a statement to the BBC, the WHO discouraged “self-medication with any medicines… as a prevention or cure for Covid-19”
Is everybody else convinced?
Yes and no.
Many African social media users appeared to be more trusting of CVO than Bill Gates.
But further abroad, the sentiments are more sceptical. Take for instance professor Brian Klaas, who believes president Rajoelina may be putting the health of his nation at risk when he says:
“It’s dangerous for two reasons – one is that some people will be taking it who should not be taking it,” he told BBC Newsday.
“And secondly that it will give people a false sense of security, so they’ll end up doing things that they would not otherwise have done and put themselves and others at greater risk.”
Do you believe that Madagascar’s CVO could be a working cure?