Madagascar virus potion scorned because it’s from Africa, president says

WHO has repeatedly issued warnings that Covid-Organics infusion has not been clinically tested

A worker holds a sample of the CovidOrganics; the plant-based "cure", promoted by Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina as a remedy against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Antananarivo, Madagascar May 8, 2020. REUTERS/Gertruud Van Ettinger  NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
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Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina on Monday rebuffed criticism for promoting a homegrown “remedy” for Covid-19, saying the West has a condescending attitude towards traditional African medicine.

“If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so,” Mr Rajoelina told French media.

The World Health Organisation has repeatedly issued warnings that the Covid-Organics infusion, which he has touted as a remedy against the deadly coronavirus, has not been clinically tested.

The drink is derived from artemisia, a plant with proven anti-malarial properties, and other indigenous herbs.

“African scientists should not be underestimated,” he told broadcasters France 24 and Radio France International.

“I think the problem is that it comes from Africa and they can’t admit that a country like Madagascar has come up with this formula to save the world,” said Mr Rajoelina, who claims the infusion cures patients within 10 days.

Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Tanzania have received consignments of the potion, which was launched last month.

“No country or organisation will keep us from going forward,” Mr Rajoelina said in response to the WHO’s concerns.

He said proof of the tonic’s efficacy was in “the healing of our sick”.

Madagascar has officially reported 183 coronavirus infections and 105 recoveries, with no deaths.

“The patients who were cured were cured through the administration of Covid-Organics alone,” Mr Rajoelina said.

He called the remedy “an improved traditional medicine” and said Madagascar was not conducting clinical trials but “clinical observations” in accordance with WHO guidelines.