The developer of COVIDEX, a herbal treatment being touted as a COVID-19 cure has cautioned that 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 (MUST) and founder of the drug, no clinical studies have been carried out on the drug to determine its efficacy. According to Ogwang, the drug has only undergone laboratory tests on animals to determine active compounds and safety.
"Only a few people have used it so far to relieve their symptoms of COVID-19. More proof is needed to show it works against COVID-19. Clinic trials that prove as medicine or effective has not yet been done due to funding limitations," said the statement signed by Ogwang issued Monday.
Ogwang's statement comes following related statements from the National Drug Authority (NDA) and Mbarara University cautioning people against the use of the drug since it has not yet undergone proper assessment.
Over the weekend, demand for Ogwang's 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 per 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 sanitizer that has been developed as part of the university's Pharm-Biotechnology Traditional Medicine Center (PHARMBIOTRAC).
The drug is not the first that has been developed to cure COVID-19. The Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute is in the process of developing a COVID-19 cure, UBV-01N. So far the drug has been used by 53 people and studies are ongoing.
Globally, no cure for the disease has been discovered yet. The disease is being managed using existing treatment such as steroids and antibiotics that have been found to reduce inflammation among infected persons.
The manufacturing of homegrown cures comes at a time when the country is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Data from the health ministry shows that over 10,000 cases of the disease were reported in the last few days.