COVID-19 Response: The case for Phytomedicines in Africa with particular focus on Cameroon
Despite enormous efforts deployed and considerable positive results obtained in the global fight against the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) the scourge remains a major international public health hazard. The main control measures at the onset consisted in the application of barrier and hygiene measures to stop the spread of the virus and case identification and clinical management of symptoms in the absence of widely available anti-COVOD-19 drugs. Vaccination as a major control measure became widely available in the advanced countries of the global north, but not in Africa where less than 5-10% 0f the population are vaccinated against COVID-19. However, African countries, possibly excluding South Africa, have been less impacted by COVID-19 pandemic as they registered fewer cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Herein it is postulated that the wide use of African traditional Phytomedicines (herbal medicines) has contributed, at least in part, to the better control of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Abundant evidence in the literature suggests the availability of anti-viral, anti-oxidant and immune-stimulatory agents in the proposed COVID-19 herbal remedies., these activities being similar to those the standard drugs used in the standard treatment/ management of COVID-19. The review also examines a number of COVID-19 herbal medicines including COVID Organics CVO (Madagascar) ADSAR, ELISIR COVID, COROCUR (Cameroon) IHP Detox Tea (Nigeria) and COVIDEX (Uganda) and notes that though approved by the competent authorities in the respective African countries, these phytomedicines have not been approved by the WHO. It is proposed that additional studies be carried out to validate the Africa herbal remedies for possible use as stand-alone or complementary treatment of COVID-19 in addition to vaccination and barrier and hygiene control measures.
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