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World Health Organisation Warns Against Misinformation in Regards to COVID-19 Cure

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KIU, Main Campus - As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to take the world by storm, claiming thousands of lives, worldwide efforts are under way to find treatment and cures for the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed interest in innovations around the world including the repurposing drugs and traditional medicines, and the development of new therapies in the search for potential treatments for COVID-19.

However, WHO urges that caution must be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies.

“Many plants and substances are being proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy. The use of products to treat COVID-19, which have not been robustly investigated can put people in danger, giving a false sense of security and distracting them from hand washing and physical distancing which are cardinal in COVID-19 prevention, and may also increase self-medication and the risk to patient safety.”

Although WHO recognizes that Africa’s traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits due to the long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that played an important role in providing care to populations, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.

“African governments, through their Ministers of Health, are to produce evidence on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine. Countries are to undertake relevant research and require national medicines regulatory agencies to approve medicines in line with international standards, which include the product following a strict research protocol and undergoing tests and clinical trials.”

WHO also holds that these studies normally involve hundreds of people under the monitoring of the national regulatory authorities and may take quite a few months in an expedited process.

WHO welcomes every opportunity to collaborate with countries and researchers to develop new therapies and encourages such collaboration for the development of effective and safe therapies for Africa and the world.


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