By Aminah Nabuule
There has been a cloud surrounding what has deemed Uganda’s gateway to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic; the wait is over. Trials of COVID-19 are set to start.
Clinical pharmacist and developer of Covidex, Patrick Ogwang, has revealed that plans are underway to start clinical trials for Covidex in two weeks.
Speaking to this website on Tuesday, Prof Ogwang said the trial for the supportive treatment drug for Covid-19 or managing related symptoms will be done by independent experts from Makerere and Mbarara universities.
Currently, the alternative treatment drug and other similar drugs have only been approved for emergency use as they await clinical trials.
Prof Ogwang also revealed that they have increased their production capacity from 5,000 per day to 100,000 bottles per day, saying this will be helpful in combatting the Covid-19 in light of the looming third wave of the pandemic.
Dr Alice Lamwaka, the lead developer of Covilyce-1, another herbal remedy being used as a supportive treatment for Covid-19, said they are still waiting for funds from the government to undertake the clinical trial.
She said the existing clinical trial procedures may not work for herbal medicines because they are dove-tailed for synthetic medicines.
“Conventional [synthetic] medicines have only one chemical component that will be followed all through but in one herbal medicine, you have [active ingredients] like alkaloids, flavonoids and saponins all with different activities. Applying the Western-based sciences to herbal medicines, therefore, presents a complex set of challenges,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Monica Musenero, the minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, has announced that the money for clinical trials for Covid-19 herbal medicines that the President promised, is being processed and will be availed.
While marking the 19th African Traditional Medicine Day in Kampala on Tuesday, Dr Munsenero said they have developed a customised clinical trial procedure that will be finalised and shared with developers of herbal medicines.
She also told the scientists that government had developed clear plans to ensure traditional medicine is treated as conventional drugs in healthcare.