July 19, 2020
The Congo Ends Experiment With Madagascar's COVID-19 'Elixir' After Claiming Its Efficacy Is 'Limited'

The Republic of the Congo has decided to end the "experiment" of using an elixir from Madagascar that had previously been hailed as a potion that could cure the novel coronavirus.

According to Africa News, though Congo had originally imported massive quantities of the potential remedy -- called COVID-Organics -- it has decided to stop using the concoction after studies showed that it had limited success in curing those infected with the illness.

"The committee had to temporarily stop this experiment," stated Professor Alexis Elira Dokekias, who serves as a member of the Committee of Experts for the National Coordination for the Management of the Congo/Brazzaville Coronavirus Pandemic and is widely considered the person who is controlling the COVID-19 management in the country.

"Unfortunately, with COVID-Organics, there are patients who did not respond to the treatment. These are patients for whom the viral load control was positive at the end. But this will be proven with scientific evidence, because what I am reporting to you is only preliminary," Dokekias added.

The central African nation was one of many on the continent that had originally expressed their interest in treating the virus with a natural and African-based remedy after the president of Madagascar had touted its success.

"This herbal tea gives results in seven days," stated President Andry Rajoelina earlier this spring, adding that the treatment had been responsible for curing two patients, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.

Those behind the elixir claimed that it worked because of its main ingredient of wormwood, which is an antiviral agent. However, the drink had never been properly tested in a lab, and the World Health Organization warned against its use due to its "unproven" claims.

An African-American scientist looks at a coronavirus specimen
Getty Images | Jake Greenberg

Even now, some health figures in Congo still insist that COVID-Organics has promise. For example, Sorel Eta, an ethnologist who has been working with the Akas Indigenous people for over two decades, has maintained his belief that the wormwood plant, also known as artemisia, could potentially be invaluable in the fight against the disease and deserves to undergo further tests.

However, despite originally finding widespread popularity in Africa, the remedy has fallen out of favor in recent weeks. According to Al Jazeera, the drink was besieged with particularly bad PR after two prominent politicians in Madagascar recently died from COVID-19, despite consistently drinking the product. In addition, cases are spiking in the island nation and the capital city remains on lockdown.

The Republic of the Congo currently has 2,358 positive cases of COVID-19 in addition to 48 deaths.