Many African nations are relying on an alleged cure tonic from Madagascar as their defense against the novel coronavirus, sparking fears about a potential health crisis on the continent. Though the tonic has been widely hailed as a cure, it has not been properly tested. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Africans that they should not rely on the untested drink alone and continue to practice hand-washing and social distancing guidelines.
According to VOA News, several countries in Africa have imported the tonic in a bid to ensure that the coronavirus does not further spread.
The Republic of Congo recently received a donation of the remedy, named Covid-Organics. In addition, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania, and Liberia have all reportedly imported the tonic or claimed that they intend to do so.
"This herbal tea gives results in seven days," stated Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina. Rajoelina also added that it had already cured two patients of the virus.
However, health officials have voiced their fear that a false sense of security given by the tonic could create a situation where "a large number of people have failed to social distance and the disease has spread more rapidly in Madagascar than it would have otherwise."Moreover, many health experts are warning that the potential dangers could be even worse than just the potential spread of the virus, citing the possibility that the tonic could create new strains of drug-resistant malaria. Malaria remains a huge problem on the continent, claiming around 400,000 deaths in 2017.
The coronavirus tonic reportedly relies on wormwood for its alleged healing properties. Wormwood is also the origin of artemisinin, which is the key ingredient in malaria drugs that has helped reduce the previous death tolls of over 1 million each year.
"We totally depend on artemisinin for malaria in every country of the world, so we are very worried about resistance," claimed Kevin Marsh of the University of Oxford, according to Science Mag.
Using artemisinin on its own, without the other components of drug treatment, is reportedly likely to create resistant strains that the WHO even issued a warning that artemisinin mono-therapy should not be used.
"It's a big, big issue," Marsh warned.
However, those in Africa remain optimistic that a natural remedy could be the key to solving the global crisis.
"Why should [we] not just support this innovation from our own continent?" explained Neville Meena, secretary of the Tanzania Editors Forum.
In other Africa news, the president of Tanzania recently made headlines after accusing COVID-19 labs of fraud. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the president claimed that he had secretly tested the facilities with a papaya sample, which resulted in a positive diagnosis.