Madagascar has launched a drink that it touts as a remedy to prevent coronavirus infection and cure it.
President Andry Rajoelina launched the product in Antananarivo on Monday, 20th April, and drank a bottle of the drink called “Covid Organics” or CVO.
The country’s Institut Malgache de Recherches Appliquées (IMRA) produced the drink from the local plant, Artemisia annua or sweet wormwood.
It is a green leafy plant that emits a striking odor and is also used for malaria.
Although the president’s office did not respond to request for information supporting the claim that the product helps cure COVID-19, President Rajoelina however shared images of the product on his social media page.
He said the drink is effective against the virus as it strengthens the body’s immune system.
In a tweet, he said the drink will be distributed free of charge to the most vulnerable compatriots and sold at very low prices to others.
“All profits will be donated to IMRA to fund scientific research. Let us believe in our ability to cope and move forward”, he said.
There is no evidence to show it actually works against COVID-19, a respiratory disease that has claimed more than 165,000 lives and infected almost 2.5 million people across the world.
IMRA has developed more than 50 products by combining traditional medicine and modern sciences, since it was founded.
Madagascar has 121 novel coronavirus cases and no reported deaths as of Monday afternoon.
The country declared a national emergency after the first confirmed cases emerged on March 20.
Under the emergency, major cities such as Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa and Toamasina were locked down.
However, on Monday Rajoelina ordered some restrictions eased in these major cities.