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COVID-19: Madagascar hands out ‘miracle’ virus cure as it lifts lockdown

   

   
Unarmed Madagascar soldiers went door-to-door in the capital Antananarivo, doling out sachets of a local herbal tea touted by President Andry Rajoelina as a powerful remedy against the novel coronavirus.

Baptised COVID-Organics, the tonic is derived from artemisia — a plant with proven efficacy in treating malaria — as well as other indigenous herbs.


It has been developed by the Madagascar Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) but has not been tested internationally.


   


    Mainstream scientists have warned of the potential risk from untested herbal brews.

There is currently no known cure for coronavirus, which has infected at least 121 people in Madagascar and more than 2.6 million worldwide.


Yet military officials on the Indian Ocean island nation say the infusion would be better than nothing.


   


    “It will strengthen immunity,” said military doctor Colonel Willy Ratovondrainy on state television, as troops launched a mass distribution campaign.

In pairs, soldiers followed people through Antananarivo’s narrow alleyways into their homes.


“Good morning, we are here to distribute the COVID-Organics tea,” one of them said.


   


    Jean-Louis Rakotonandrasana gratefully accepted the free packet of herbs.

“We are eager to try this infusion since we saw president Rajoelina drink it on television,” the 58-year-old said.


Most of Madagascar’s 26 million inhabitants live in grinding poverty with limited access to healthcare and regularly take herbal teas for a variety of common ailments. Theguardianng


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