Mbarara University of Science and Technology says it was unfortunate the Covidex, a herbal treatment was leaked before going through all necessary medical procedures.
The Vice-Chancellor Prof Celestine Obua says they were taken by surprise when the drug was seen being marketed on social media much earlier than anticipated.
He says the product had just been presented to the donors who considered it an excellent potential herbal medicine and were advised to go ahead and follow the normal procedures of approval.
On Tuesday, the developer of COVIDEX 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.
Obua says the university values the safety of the population and follows the right procedures guided by the National Regulatory and Certification bodies that include the National Drug Authority and Uganda National Bureau Standards in the Country.
“We, therefore, would like to request the general public to be patient and allow this product to undergo all necessary procedure e.g., Lab tests, animal rests, Clinical trials, production agreements. Certification, registration and licensing before the product can be put on the market for sale”.
National Drug Authority-NDA said that they had not undertaken any assessment or approved covidex and had not received any application from the innovator of the drug as required by NDA policy and Act cap 206.
Prof Obua also warned Jena Herbals, to stop any production, distribution or sale of COVIDEX without the express permission of Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
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 of COVID-19. The drug was also sold as a preventive treatment for the disease.
According to Mbarara University, COVIDEX is one of several products including a hand sanitiser that have been developed as part of the university’s Pharm-Biotechnology Traditional Medicine Center (PHARMBIOTRAC).