Madagascar reports first Covid-19-related death as herbal tonic's efficacy questioned
Cape Town - Madagascar has reported its first Covid-19-related death, a 57-year-old medical worker who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure.
According to an Indian publication, Republicworld.com, the announcement of the death was made on Sunday by the national Covid-19 task force.
Madagascar has confirmed a total of 304 positive Covid-19 cases. According to reports, the task force spokesperson, Hanta Danielle Vololontiana, in a statement said that the medical worker died on Saturday night.
The death comes amid rising questions surrounding Madagascar's Covid-Organics, which was invented by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research as a herbal drink that can both prevent and cure Covid-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly warned that the Covid-Organics infusion, which Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has touted as a remedy against the deadly coronavirus, has not been clinically tested.
However, African countries such as Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville and Guinea-Bissau have reportedly started importing the herbal tonic from the island nation.
“The Covid-Organics will be distributed free of charge to our most vulnerable compatriots and sold at very low prices to others. All profits will be donated to IMRA to finance scientific research,” Rajoelina wrote on Twitter.
He stated that 105 of Madagascar's 171 coronavirus patients who recovered from the virus only took their coronavirus medicine.
The private research institute that developed the tonic has been invested in researching the uses of Madagascar’s traditional medicines. Rajoelina said that the herbal extract is made up of artemisia, a bitterroot used in some malaria drugs, but the ingredients have not been mentioned on the drink, Republicworld reported.
The coronavirus has now claimed 316,732 lives worldwide as of May 18. According to the tally by an international news agency, the pandemic has infected at least 4,805,210 people. Out of the total infections, 1,860,050 have recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities still remain under lockdown in many countries and the world economy is struggling.