YAOUNDE, Cameroon

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday formed a committee to aid African countries in the use of traditional medicine against the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, the two organizations joined efforts to enhance research and development efforts on traditional medicine against the pandemic.

The 25-member regional expert committee will support countries in collaborative efforts to conduct clinical trials of traditional treatments in compliance with international standards, the statement said.

“Interest in traditional medicine as potential remedies for COVID-19 is growing in Africa,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, was quoted in the statement as saying.

“As the world races to find treatment and vaccines against the virus, research into traditional and orthodox medicines as potential COVID-19 therapy must be grounded in science, and today marks an important step in supporting these endeavours,” Moeti added.

According to the statement, the experts’ committee will start work immediately. “Developing a master protocol to guide countries on clinical trials for COVID-19 and setting the agenda to support Member States will be among the initial tasks.”

In May, the WHO said it held a virtual meeting with 70 experts in African traditional medicine on treating the coronavirus.

There are over 748,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent — with more than 409,000 recoveries 15,000 deaths, according to the WHO.

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