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All about the Coronavirus medicine found in Madagascar

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Last updated on mai 20, 2020

Would Madagascar be the first African country to find the cure for Coronavirus? The treatment based on medicinal plants to fight against the Coronavirus officially launched by the Malagasy head of government, Andry Rajoelina, and the IMRA on April 20th has become a very controversial subject in the Big Island at the moment especially in the medical world. Everybody is talking about it! But what do we really know about this medicine?

Latest News about Covid-Organics

The official presentation of Covid-Organics, a coronavirus drug, took place on 20 April 2020 at the  Malagasy Institute of Applied Research or IMRA’s headquarters in Itaosy, Antananarivo. Extensive research on Artemisia, a medicinal plant, has enabled IMRA to find a drug to counter the coronavirus. It has already been tested on patients infected with Covid-19 and large-scale production has now been launched.

School population in preparation for exams: the Baccalaureate and BEPC candidates who returned to school today were the first to drink Covid-Organics beverages. Today, the Upper Matsiatra is the first region, contaminated by the coronavirus, visited by the Head of State. With the assistance of the Minister of National Education and Technical and Vocational Education, Rijasoa Andriamanana, he brought the necessary tools to deal with the spread of the coronavirus, including bottles of Covid- Organics and mouth covers.

CVO Covid-Organics is packaged in three formats: bottle, herbal tea and decoction, and has been on sale since yesterday. The liter of the potion will be sold at 3 000 Ariary, the 33 centiliter bottle will be bought at 1 500 Ariary, and the box of herbal tea of 14 sachets at 10 000 Ariary.

The position of WHO (World Health Organization)

Charlotte Ndiaye, the representative of WHO, did not attend the recent presentation by President Malagasy. The WHO is sceptical about the effectiveness of artemsia in the fight against the coronavirus.

« The WHO does not endorse the coronavirus cure found by IMRA, »

the gazette wrote.

The WHO is unconvinced by the remedy proposed by the head of government and IMRA. Why not? The organization acknowledged that some traditional medicines and remedies « can alleviate the symptoms » of coronavirus, but pointed out that there is no evidence that these substances can prevent or cure diseases.

To be effective, according to the WHO, artemisia must be combined with other molecules.  However, the director of IMRA explains that IMRA researchers have isolated its active ingredient and combined it with other Malagasy medicinal plant molecules whose name and formula they have not provided.

« We compared our studies with other existing studies around the world and decided to combine plants endemic to Madagascar to strengthen and optimize the effects of Artemisia. It is this association that gave us the Covid Organics that we wish to share with all Malagasy people, as a preventive and curative, »

says doctor Charles Andrianjara, Director of the IMRA during the questioning sessions by the national and international press.

In addition, the head of state adds words reassuring the Malagasy people during the official launch of Covid-Organics by testifying that two sick patients of Covid-19 have already been cured by Covid Organics: « One of the two cured patients is none other than my aunt. »

IMRA and medicinal plants in Madagascar

IMRA is a medical and pharmaceutical research centre created by one of the country’s most eminent scientists: Albert Rakoto Ratsimamanga in 1957. Albert Rakoto Ratsimamanga, the founder of IMRA was born on 28 December 1907 in Tananarive and died on 16 September 2001. He had the status of Regional Centre for Research by the Organization of African Unity. He took his name and that of his wife, also a scientist, in 2012. It then became the Albert Suzanne Rakoto-Ratsimamanga Foundation.

The activities of the laboratory are twofold: research and academic teaching, through the supervision of university students for their research work (both nationally and internationally). In terms of research, IMRA’s pharmaco-clinical laboratory focuses on identifying and using Malagasy medicinal plants that can cure or improve the lives of patients suffering from serious illnesses.

Madagascar has more than 13,000 medicinal plants, at least half of which are endemic. Several plants have proven to be the most effective so far, including the Madagascar Periwinkle (Caranthus Roseus), which is used in decoction to treat liver problems, hypertension or to alleviate diabetes. However, medicinal plants in Madagascar are a very powerful weapon against many diseases, it is only necessary to demonstrate their effectiveness scientifically.

Current situation in Madagascar

At present, no new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed positive, the number of people tested since 19 March has remained at 121. 8 new cures have been recorded, bringing the total number of cured Covid-19 cases to 58. In addition, 63 of them are still undergoing treatment at hospitals in the Capital.

The herbal remedy called Covid-Organics, which was presented by the President of the Republic of Malagasy, contains Artemisia or Artemisia annua, a fern-like plant from the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia grown on the Big Island to combat malaria. Many wonder about the potential effects of CVO.

An article in Le Quotidien du médecin in November 2019 wrote: « Known from annual mugwort or Chinese wormwood, Artemisia annua is the artemisinin-containing plant whose derivatives are indicated in the treatment of malaria. The latter are used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce ACTs (Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy) such as artemether or artesunate » continues the article « The content of decoctions produced from Artemisia is often insufficient to eliminate the malaria parasite and avoid relapse » states the WHO in its opinion in 2007.

For his part, the Director of IMRA explains:

« Covid-Organics will be used in prophylaxis, i.e. in prevention, but clinical observations have shown a trend towards its effectiveness in curative treatment. »


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