The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for coronavirus has endorsed a protocol for phase III clinical trials of herbal medicine for coronavirus as well as a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.
The endorsed technical documents are aimed at empowering and developing a critical mass of technical capacity of scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in line with international standards.
The data safety and monitoring board will ensure that the accumulated studies data are reviewed periodically against participants’ safety.
It will also make recommendations on the continuation, modification or termination of a trial based on evaluation of data at predetermined periods during the study.
“Just like other areas of medicine, sound science is the sole basis for safe and effective traditional medicine therapies,” Doctor Prosper Tumusiime, the director of universal health coverage and life course cluster at WHO regional office for Africa, said.
Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa, the expert committee chairman, said, “The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 are generated without compromising the safety of participants.”
The 25-member regional committee was formed by the WHO, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs in July to enhance research and development of traditional medicines for coronavirus.