With COVID-19 vaccines still in short supply and treatment options limited, the Ugandan Drug Authority recently approved the use of the drug Covidex for COVID-19 patient care. According to an article written by Halima Athumani for VOA news, Covidex is an herbal treatment made from traditional herbal plants that have been used in the past to help ease symptoms of other diseases. Covidex is not considered a cure for the COVID-19 virus, rather it is to be used as a supportive treatment for the management of symptoms. Dr. David Nahamya, the Executive Director of the Ugandan Health Authority, said that Covidex was approved for use after a 2-week scientific evaluation of its safety and usefulness in helping to manage symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. Dr. Nahamya said, “To further the efficacy of the drug for other uses, Uganda’s National Drug Authority has advised the manufacturer to conduct random controlled clinical trials, which are the highest level of evidence to ascertain any claims of treatment.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) however, says it has not received any information on Covidex and so they are unable to approve its use for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms. Dr. Solome Okware of the WHO’s Uganda office said that while the WHO is currently working with researchers from African countries to find traditional medicines that could be used in the treatment of COVID-19, Covidex has not been among the traditional medicines that have been evaluated.
Dr. Samuel Opio, secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda, meanwhile, believes that while there are concerns about the use of Covidex, its approval is a positive step. According to Dr. Opio, the drugs that have been approved for emergency use in the United States are not available in Uganda. “So the issue of lack of a treatment, the issue of inaccessibility to even what is approved for emergency use, means that we need to also look for local solutions to the global challenges, and herbal treatment is one area.” Dr. Opio said.
ROWAN is committed to supporting our widows and orphans in every way we can as they face this crisis and we continue to keep them, and all of the people of Uganda, in our prayers.
Image from Reuters