COVID-19 ‘cure’: Madagascar puts COVID-19 'cure' on sale

Madagascar is putting its self-proclaimed COVID-19 cure on sale despite warnings from the World Health Organization that the plant-based remedy is not proven.

Several African countries have already made their orders for the tonic, which President Andry Rajoelina launched last month saying it had cured two people.

"Madagascar is providing, is contributing a solution to a global problem. We have been always used that it is Europe and Western Europe and other countries which do contribute to global problems."

Madagascar has been giving away thousands of bottles of "COVID-19 Organics", which was developed by the state-run Malagasy Institute of Applied Research.

Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Guinea Bissau have all already received thousands of doses free of charge.

And it can be bought domestically for around 40 U.S. cents per bottle.

Antananarivo resident Rakoto says he's been taking it for six days and believes it will cure the pandemic.

COVID-19 Organics is based on the plant Artemisia annua which has anti-malarial properties.

Isolated compounds extracted from Artemisia are effective in malaria drugs, the World Health Organisation has noted, but the plant itself cannot treat malaria.

WHO Africa head Matshidiso Moeti said she was concerned people who drank the product might feel they were immune to COVID-19 and engage in risky behavior.

The WHO has said COVID-19 Organics needs to be tested for its efficacy and any side effects.

The African Union said on Monday (May 4) that it was trying to get Madagascar's technical data on the remedy, and would pass that to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for evaluation.