The developer of COVIDEX, a herbal treatment that has been marketed to cure COVID-19 has said the drug has not yet been confirmed to cure the disease.
According to a statement issued by Prof. Patrick Engeu Ogwang, a lecturer at Mbarara University of Science and Technology and also the founder of the drug, no clinical studies have been carried out on the drug to determine its efficacy.
According to Prof. Ogwang, the drug has only undergone laboratory tests on animals to determine active compounds and safety.
“Only a few people have used it so far to relive their symptoms of COVID-19. More proof is needed to show it works against COVID-19. Clinic trials that prove as medicine or effective has not yet been done due to funding limitations,” said the statement signed by Prof. Ogwang issued today.
Prof. Ogwang’s statement comes following statements from the National Drug Authority (NDA) and Mbarara University cautioning people on the use of the drug since it has not yet undergone proper assessment.
As Prof Ogwang gets funding for trials, he has been advised to change the name of the product and stop making claims that it can treat COVID-19.
Over the weekend, demand for the product rose. Many people were looking for it at pharmacies such as Friecca located in Wandegaya, Kampala. The drug was being sold at several pharmacies at Shs 10,000 for each 20 mls bottle. According to pharmacists selling the drug, a person needed seven bottles of the drug to be cured from COVID-19. The drug was also sold as a preventive treatment for the disease.
According to Mbarara University, COVIDEX is one of sever products including a hand sanitizer that have been developed as part of the university’s Pharm-Biotechnology Traditional Medicine Center (PHARMBIOTRAC).
The drug is not the first that has been developed to tackle COVID-19. The Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute is in the process of developing a COVID-19 cure, UBV-01N. So far the drug has been used by 53 people and studies are ongoing.
Globally, no cure for the disease has been discovered yet. The disease is being managed using existing treatment such as steroids and antibiotics that have been found to reduce inflammation among infected persons.
The manufacturing of home grown cures comes at a time when the country is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Data from the health ministry shows that over 10,000 cases of the disease were reported in the last few days.