Niger on Tuesday received a consignment of herbal tea that Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina has touted as a powerful remedy against the novel coronavirus.
Baptised COVID-Organics, the drink is derived from artemisia — a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment – and other indigenous herbs.
Rajoelina hopes to distribute the infusion across West Africa and beyond. Madagascar claims it cures COVID-19 patients within 10 days.
The World Health Organisation has said that the herbal tea’s effects had not been tested, and there are no published scientific studies of the potion.
“Ismagail Annar, the chief of staff in the health ministry, received a batch of the products offered by Madagascar for free,” Souley Zaberou, a health ministry official told AFP.
The consignment contains sachets to “treat 900 people: 300 for those already sick and for 600 others as a preventive measure,” Zaberou said.
Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea have already taken delivery of the infusion.
There have been 755 cases of the new coronavirus in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, and 37 deaths, according to the latest figures. The dead include Labour Minister Mohamed Ben Omar.
Niger has imposed a health emergency, closed its borders, places of worship and schools and isolated the capital Niamey from the rest of the country.