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Treatment for COVID-19: Ghana discovers first herbal drug… awaits clinical trial for approval

Ghana is near the end of approving a herbal product to support the treatment of COVID-19.

Out of a total of 11 products being researched into by the Cen­tre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR) at Mampong in the Eastern Region for possible treat­ment of the disease, “Immunim,” hitherto an immune booster drug, has proven to have at least 90 per cent efficacy against the SARS-COV-2 virus.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (middle) with staff and management of the centre
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (middle) with staff and management of the centre

Pending the completion of pre-clinical and clinical trials, the herbal product is tipped to be Ghana’s first herbal drug to treat COVID-19.

The Director of Research and Innovation at the Centre, Dr Kofi Donkor, made this known to journalists yesterday when the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, paid a courtesy call on the management of CPMR to familiarise himself with their operations.

The visit also afforded the Min­ister the opportunity to inaugurate an expanded clinic building in hon­our of Dr Oku Ampofo, the first director of the centre, to adminis­ter traditional and herbal medicinal care to the public.

“We are currently at the pre-clin­ical level which should be com­plete within the next two months, then we can begin clinical trials, which involve testing the drugs in humans and once that is success­ful, we can get market authorisa­tion to use it for the treatment of COVID-19,” Dr Donkor said.

According to the director, out of 31 people who tested positive for COVID-19 and put on the herbal drug, 28 have tested nega­tive after two weeks of being on it.

“The ability of the herbal prod­uct to clear the virus within two weeks provides a useful candidate for the treatment of COVID-19,” he stated.

The Minister lauded the centre’s innovativeness, describing it as phenomenal and a step towards advancing quality alternative healthcare in the country.

He said the expansion of the clinic showed the growing appetite for herbal medicine in the country and the government was commit­ted to supporting the sector to thrive.

“This is a process (and) we are committed to funding further research into traditional and herbal medicine for local consumption and possibly, export. We have used some of the COVID-19 funds to support the activities here so far and some have also come for their internally-generated funds.

“Any time we get adequate funds, we are willing to channel some here to support their activi­ties,” he said.

Professor Alex Asase, the Executive Director of the CPMR, expressed the resolve of the centre to deepen research into the use of plant medicine to meet the coun­try’s healthcare needs.

At present, 26 people are active with COVID-19 in the country.

With the exception of one active case in the Western North Region, the rest are found in the Greater Accra Region.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) COVID-19 dashboard last updated on April 13, 2023 indi­cates that none of the active cases is in a critical or severe condition.

Meanwhile, close to 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have so far been administered across the country, with 10 million people fully immunised.

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