No herbal drug has been approved to manage COVID-19 – CPMR

Deputy Director for Centre for Plant Medicine Research, Dr. Alfred Ampomah Appiah

The Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR) has stated that the nation has no medically approved herbal drug that can be used to manage or treat patients with Coronavirus.

According to the centre, it has received tonnes of medication for the management and treatment of Coronavirus, but none passed the potency test. With the rising number of virus infections, it is feared that some will resort to local medication for managing the disease; and as a result, the CPMR is cautioning the public against any such action.

“When the products are brought we do some basic analysis. The first is the safety profile. We want to know if it will be safe for a patient to use. We also look at the hygienic profile – whether the product was produced under conditions that could make it contaminated. We also look at the constituents; plants have chemical constituents. When you have done and it passes, then we conduct a viral test.

“The person is claiming that the drug can treat COVID-19, it means that the product should have anti-viral properties and, specifically, the product should act against COVID-19. Then we submit the product for anti-viral analysis; it should pass. If it doesn’t pass, then we cannot claim that it can work as a treatment for Coronavirus,” the Deputy Director for the Centre for Plant Medicine Research, Dr. Alfred Ampomah Appiah, told the B&FT.

According to him, so far, about 200 products submitted have failed the test, and the Centre has put in measures to test as many products as are submitted to try and arrive at a product that can be used to manage the disease.

“We are working hard to develop products that can support the new system; to develop a product that can act as antioxidant to manage the disease condition. Treatment will take some time because we’ll have to do a series of test and ensure that whatever you have is active against the virus,” Dr. Ampomah Appiah said at the Ghana Pharma Summit 2020 on the theme ‘COVID-19: The capacity of the pharma industry, what lies ahead’.

He revealed that the Centre is working to standardise the usage of plants with anti-viral properties to check their abuse on the market.

“These things will have to be standardised. You hear that people have gone for these herbs and are boiling and drinking them; they are medicines and if you take beyond a certain quantity they can harm you. Therefore, we will have to formulate standard dosage forms to avoid harm to consumers or patients. That is our responsibility, but we need this to be done with research before we can move it into the industry for large-scale production.”

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