Coronavirus (1192) Declaration of the Association of Science Journalists and Communicators for the Promotion of Health in Cameroon on the resurgence of covid-19 (2) Promotion of traditional medicine

22 March, 2021

Dear all,

While I applaud most of the statement, I don’t understand the claim that “traditional Medicine” should be integrated “in the treatment of COVID-19” and that “promoters of endogenous solutions” must be supported. Any treatment must be tested to demonstrate its efficacy and lack of major side effects before being used, whether it comes from traditional or modern medicine. Hydroxychloroquine (modern medicine) has been widely prescribed while numerous clinical trials have shown it has no efficacy, neither to prevent nor to treat COVID-19, but causes serious cardiological side effects. How much money has been spent to treat with hydroxychloroquine and how many people have subsequently died from cardiopathies?

Similarly, we can hypothesize that hundreds of thousands of people in Africa spend money for traditional medicines they think would protect them against COVID-19 and may suffer from negative side effects. Claiming to promote traditional medicine, just because it is traditional, is not helping African people.

95% of people sick with COVID-19 recover without any specific treatment and, of course, it is expected that 95% of sick people who would take any “traditional” treatment will recover. Comparative clinical studies are necessary to state that such or such treatment is efficacious.

Part of the modern pharmacopoeia comes from traditional treatments and those should not be discarded. However, the claim should be to identify traditional treatments that might have a potential to prevent or treat COVID-19 and to promote clinical trials to test them, not to use them.

Bernard Seytre

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HIFA profile: Bernard Seytre is a Consultant at BNSCommunication in France. Professional interests: Health communication and education. Email address: seytre@bnscom.fr