Uganda: NDA Yet to Clear Local Covid Drug

The National Drug Authority (NDA) has said it is still gathering more information about the acclaimed Covid-19 cure, Covidex, before directing on usage.

The herbal medicine is said to have been manufactured by senior scientists at Mbarara University-based firm Pharmbiotrac.

Dr David Nahamya, the secretary to the Authority, told Daily Monitor yesterday: “We are going to issue a statement about the Covidex medicine tomorrow in the morning (yesterday). We are gathering comprehensive information about it.”

He was responding to the question on whether the herbal medicine has been approved by NDA for use by Covid-19 patients. Medicines are only permitted to be sold after a successful approval from NDA, according to the government.

The Covidex medicine has raised a disturbing mix of excitement and safety concerns among members of the public and health experts as the deadly second wave of Covid-19 pushes nationals to search for effective medicines to remain alive.

Public speaks

“@National Drug Authority; how authentic is this so called Covidex? It could be a time bomb to our people,” Dr Aloysious Calvin Irigenera tweeted on June 11.

Another social media user Zuena Nalwoga wrote: “I’m so impressed that Magufuli’s science of steaming is being applied everywhere with results to boot. There’s something called Covidex by a professor from Mbarara University. It seems to be working as well even for advanced cases that are on oxygen.”

The picture of a container of the Covidex medicine and a write-up said to have been authored by the developer, Prof Patrick Ogwang Engeu, indicates that the “cure” was developed from locally available plants and has successfully undergone their laboratory tests.

“Last year, when Covid reached Uganda, I decided to redesign and repurpose one product, which initially was for toothache and mouth hygiene for use in Covid because of the strong antiviral effects of the medicinal plants extract in it,” the write-up reads.

It continues: “Last year around December, two of my colleagues in the [Mbarara] University got severe Covid with one admitted in hospital and put on oxygen. I gave them the formula, which I call Covidex, and in three days of use, they greatly improved and became negative [for Covid].”

In the write-up, the author said: “Covidex factory price is Shs3,000 per unit pack. Dose for 7 days is Shs21,000 factory price. My goal is always to make medicine that is affordable to all. I never aim at huge profits.”

Attempts to reach Prof Ogwang for comments were futile as he didn’t pick calls neither did he reply to the text messages sent to him on Saturday.

Prof Anke Weisheit, the head of innovations and business management at Pharmbiotrac, said she was not allowed to talk to the media.

Source: The Monitor

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