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Invest in preventive and curative treatment of coronavirus right now
22 April, 2020
The world has recorded over 2000,000 cases of coronavirus and about 140,000 deaths and we still do not know when this pandemic will end and what the extent of the damage it would have caused in the end. This pandemic poses a huge threat to our humanity in terms of health, social and economic security. On the possibilities of eradicating this pandemic, there is a thinking that this might become a seasonal disease. If this hypothesis were to be affirmed, the consequences will be permanent in terms of periodic losses in human life, productivity and the economy even with the development of a vaccine. The global community should be prepared by taking preventive and curative measures to fight the disease today and in the future.
Currently the knowledge of the virus is increasing quickly. Due to the high pressure of the disease on the health system and the high mortality rates, scientists across the world are working on a vaccine and on medicine to prevent and cure the coronavirus disease. While individual/private initiatives are taken, the WHO through the so called “Solidarity” clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments, has involved over 90 countries (as of April 8, 2020) to work together to find effective therapeutics as soon as possible. Most of the treatments under test are linked to old and known drugs such as those used for malaria, HIV, Ebola, cancers, tuberculosis, neglected diseases and other antivirals.
Today the number of coronavirus cases and death in Africa has reached more than 18 000 and 900, respectively. Although these figures are still low in comparison with other continents, the coronavirus wave risks reaching Africa and the consequences are likely to be dramatic if preventive and curative measures are not taken quickly and immediately. It is time for Africa to join the momentum of global research on preventive and curative treatment of coronavirus by exploring the possibility that its large indigenous pharmacopeia offers.
The Sustainable Development Center for Africa (SDGC/A) calls on African governments to launch research on medicine development for the coronavirus and undertake the following actions.
- Set up research teams in each country that includes members of the Department in charge of traditional medicine in the Ministry of Health, researchers / inventors already recognized and accredited in African pharmacopoeia, practitioners, the faculties of medicine and pharmacies, botanists and liaise with hospitals in charge of the treatment of the patients.
- Encourage the national research teams to (i) develop collaborative research work with scientists outside their countries; (ii) take the current challenge as an opportunity and build a systematic protocol and procedure for traditional medicine efforts; (iii) take stock of ongoing efforts in this regard and leverage the work done and partner with research institutions with better capacity; (iv) proceed to the adaptations of some of the preventive measures for Africa’s lifestyle and provide recommendation to the governments.
- Provide needed financial resources to the teams by mobilizing public and private sector actors.
- Follow the established international and national rules with respect to (i) the use of traditional medicine, complementary medicine, herbal medicines and (ii) coronavirus clinical trials including patient’s informed consent; monitoring of the intervention, documentation of the results; and the timely sharing of the results with the wider medical and scientific community.
- Strengthen the local pharmaceutical enterprises to be able to produce needed preventive and curative treatment.
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