By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: Gulu University’s Covilyce a herbal remedy to help in the treatment ofCovif-19 has received a green light from a team of scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The team of health experts has described the innovation as the right step in the advancement and standardization of African traditional medicine for COVID-19 treatment.
A group of scientists from the University led by Dr. Alice Veronica Lamwaka invented the herbal product last year, which they claimed heals COVID-19 symptoms within 72 hours of usage.
According to Dr. Alice Lamwaka, a senior lecturer at the University’s PharmBiotec, the herbs which come in form of powder, nasal drops, (anal) suppositories and (syrup) linctus that were formulated from eight different herbs, were not tested but were subjected to phytochemical analysis to find out what active ingredients are present in them and what diseases they can cure.
She said they formulated the four products based on their knowledge of herbs used in treating infections, especially during epidemics, and the fact that they already have a unit for traditional medicines at the University.
Dr. Lamwaka claimed that the herbs can cure a user with signs and symptoms of Covid-19 between 12-72 hours of getting treatment. Those with mild symptoms of Covid-19, she said, are given the nasal drops in their mouth, ears, and nose and get well between 12-72 hours.
Patients whose infections go to their chest use the linctus which goes down through the systemic circulation. Those with co-morbidities, Covid-19, hypertension, asthma, ulcers, and diabetes, use the powder in combination with the linctus and nasal drops and cut off viral infection within 12 hours. Then patients who are unconscious, can’t swallow, on oxygen, or have difficulty breathing, use the suppository which is administered via the rectum.
Dr. Lamwaka said the good feedback from the community that the products work even on severely ill patients motivated the team to prepare all the different formulations.
Currently, the university is using the more than 200 traditional herbalists that got trained at the faculty to administer the herbs to Covid-19 patients in the community.
Prof. Joseph Okeinbunor, who led a delegation of scientists from the WHO Regional Office for Africa, said the innovation is a good gesture on their calls for more research on African traditional medicine.
The scientists, all members of the Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19 Response (REACT) visited the university on Friday to review its mission to develop COVID-19 herbal treatment.
According to Prof, Okeibunor, WHO is committed to offering technical support to the University to improve on its innovation. He said that although there is still a lot to be done, it’s remarkable that the scientists have made some good progress so far.
He noted that WHO has taken interest in accelerating the process of developing traditional medicine by ensuring that they are standardized in compliance with international standards for global acceptance.
Prof. Ossy Kasilo, the Regional Adviser For Traditional Medicine for WHO Africa says Africans must work together towards the development of traditional medicine. She notes that the region shouldn’t expect other nations, especially in Asia to come and assist scientists in innovating traditional medicine.
During a presentation to the WHO delegation, Dr. Lamwaka said that lack of funds from the government has stalled the clinical trial of the Covilyce-1 herbal product.
Dr. Lamwaka said that since the invention of the Covilyce-1, there has been anecdotal evidence that the natural product clears the COVID-19 virus within 12 to 72 hours of use by patients.
Last year, President, Yoweri Museveni authorized the release of Shillings 3.7 Billion to fund research on Covilyce-1 herbal products after a meeting with Dr. Lamwaka and a team of Gulu University officials. Dr Lamwaka says the money hasn’t yet been released.
She requested WHO to offer financial support for setting up a traditional medicine hub at Gulu University for the advancement of knowledge in traditional medicine research.
In 2020, WHO and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) launched an expert advisory committee/panel to provide independent scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy, and quality of traditional medicine therapies.
The move was a joint effort aimed at enhancing the research and development of traditional medicines for COVID-19 in Africa. The 25-member Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 is supporting countries in collaborative efforts to conduct clinical trials of traditional medicines in compliance with international standards.