The president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, is sending a plane to Madagascar to fetch a herbal tonic touted as a cure for Covid-19 even as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned there was no proof of any cure.
Congo-Brazzaville’s president has also promised to import the drink.
It is produced from the artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment.
The WHO also advised people against self-medicating.
The drink was launched as Covid-Organics and was being marketed after being tested on fewer than 20 people over a period of three weeks, the Tanzanian president’s chief of staff Lova Hasinirina Ranoromaro told the BBC.
In response to the launch of Covid-Organics, the WHO said in a statement sent to the BBC that the global organisation did not recommend “self-medication with any medicines… as a prevention or cure for Covid-19”.
It reiterated earlier comments by WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that there were “no short-cuts” to finding effective mediation to fight coronarvirus.
International trials were under way to find an effective treatment, the WHO added.
In March, the US-based National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health warned against purported coronavirus remedies, including herbal therapies and teas – saying the best way to prevent infection was to avoid exposure to the virus.