The Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine (CSRPM) at Mampong-Akuapem has recommended nine herbal medicines for use as immune support and supportive treatment for the relief of some symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The products are COA FS, Herbetine Herbal Powder, Herbetine Herbal Mixture, Viva Plus Powder, Ayisaa Opinto Herbal Tea, CD Capsules, Amen Depomix Powder, Amen Fevermix Capsules and Amen Chestico Capsules.
The nine medicines were part of 33 herbal products submitted to the centre by the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Associations (GHAFTRAM) to establish their potency for the management of the COVID-19.
A letter dated May 11, 2020, which accompanied the report on the preliminary evaluation work and recommendations on the herbal products, was signed by the acting Executive Director of the centre, Dr Kofi Bobi Barimah, and addressed to the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.
It was copied to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, the Director of Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate and the President of GHAFTRAM
According to the report, the initial recommendation was based on four major factors — the biological activities of the medicinal plants used in the formulation, the status of the product as Food and Drugs Authority (FDA)-registered dietary supplement to support the immune system to fight a variety of diseases, the traditional uses of the plant constituents and some chronic toxicity studies and anecdotal clinical data available on the product.
The assessors also looked at the various medicinal plants used in the preparation of the products, reviewed information available and the microbial load analyses on relevant products.
“Based on our preliminary evaluation, we submit our recommendations, as attached, for your necessary action,” the letter to the minister stated.
Although one of the remaining 24 products, Kingdom Garlic Bitters, was registered by the FDA as an immune booster, the centre requested the manufacturer to provide “ingredients” to enable the evaluation of the product to be finalised.
On COA FS, for instance, the centre said it was registered by the FDA as a dietary supplement to support the immune system to fight a variety of diseases, and that chronic toxicity studies showed the drug did not have a deleterious effect in rats on prolonged administration.
“Studies show COA FS has anti-viral activity against HIV. Anecdotal clinical data collected showed COA FS significantly reduced viral loads in HIV and Hepatitis B patients,” it said.
It said in its report that Herbetine Herbal Powder, Herbetine Herbal Mixture, Viva Plus Powder, Ayisaa Opinto Herbal Tea, CD Capsules and Amen Depomix Powder were all registered by the FDA as immune boosters.
According to the centre, Amen Fevermix Capsules were registered by the FDA for the treatment of malaria and body pain, and that preliminary clinical data collection showed the drug had antimalaria activity and did not have a deleterious effect in humans.
For Amen Chestico Capsules, it said it was registered by the FDA for treating malaria fever and general bodily pains, and that sub-chronic toxicity studies showed the medicine did not have a deleterious effect on rats on prolonged administration.
The centre said it was going to embark on the next phase of its assessment of the products.
“The next phase of our assessment will include chronic toxicity and anti-viral studies of products of interest. We will update you [Minister of Health] on the progress of the evaluation in due course,” the letter indicated.
The evaluation works by the centre were also carried out on nine other unregistered products that passed microbial load analyses recommendations. They were Ayisaa Situate, Applauded Capsules, Ed-Osborn Garlic Mixture, Prime Herbal Booster, Kingdom Garlic Capsules, Duodena Herbal Tea, Assad Immune Booster, Impound and Defender Herbal Product (soap).
Based on the evaluation, the report recommended the nine unregistered drugs for use as supportive therapy for the COVID-19, subject to FDA registration.
The recommendation was based on some factors, made up of the biological activities of the medicinal plants used in the formulation, the traditional use of the plant constituents used for the formulation and the products passing acute toxicity and microbial load analyses.
There were, however, 14 other products that failed the evaluation. They were unregistered, and when they were evaluated, they failed microbial load analyses.
The centre said all the “products have passed acute toxicity studies. However, they did not pass the microbial load assay”.
In that respect, the manufacturers were asked to submit samples of another batch of their products for microbial load analysis, adding that the “quantity of sample submitted was not enough for the analyses”.
The medicines are Team Anti-Viral (immune booster and respiratory system), Kwela Green Tea (upper respiratory tract infections), Kwaya All Force (immune booster), Omouye Viral Mixture (immune booster), Give Thanks To Almighty Herbal Powder (viral infections), Gyena Capsules (immune booster) and Mico Herbal Powder (Hepatitis B & C, blood purification and immune booster).
The rest are: Feli Herbal Powder (immune booster), AC Immune Booster (immune booster), Oppong Anti-Viral Mixture (viral infection and immune booster), Opam Tonic (viral infection, immune booster), Live On Organic Syrup (viral infection, immune booster), Asumang J333 Herbal (viral infection) and Duodo Booster Powder (immune booster).
The General Secretary of GHAFTRAM, Nana Kwadwo Obiri, told the Daily Graphic that based on the recommendations of the CSRPM, the federation was ready to manufacture the products for free for the treatment of COVID-19 patients once the government was ready to provide the raw materials.
According to him, the 33 products were submitted to the Ministry of Health for onward submission to the centre for evaluation based on the conviction that herbal medical practitioners had something positive to offer in the fight against the COVID-19.