NAIROBI, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The application of herbal medicine to treat COVID-19 patients in Africa should be informed by a rigorous scientific process aimed at ascertaining their efficacy and safety, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Thursday.
Michel Yao, program manager for emergency response at WHO Regional Office for Africa, said that evidence-based research should precede the use of alternative medicine to treat COVID-19 in order to avert side effects.
"The herbal treatment can be a solution for COVID-19, but must go through a scientific process to ensure it is effective and safe," Yao said during an interview.
"We are waiting to collect more evidence in Africa," said Yao, adding that several African countries have turned to herbal drugs to treat the viral disease though there is no scientific evidence to prove their curative potential.
Yao said that WHO has been encouraging African governments and scientific bodies to identify and research on the efficacy and safety of some herbal therapies that can be used to contain COVID-19 in the continent.
According to Yao, WHO has in the past supported the development of herbal drugs in Africa with proven capacity to treat conditions including hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell, which could fuel COVID-19 related fatalities.
"Some countries used herbal medicine to treat Ebola and we are encouraging regulatory entities, scientific boards hosted by medical schools to analyze the benefits and risks of herbal therapies in the treatment of COVID-19," said Yao.
Yao said that Africa's research institutions should partner with local communities to improve understanding of herbal medicine before their application to treat the highly contagious disease. Enditem