KAMPALA — The National Drug Authority has approved the use of COVIDEX as a supportive treatment in the management of viral infections.
The approval comes at a time Uganda is experiencing the second wave of covid19 with over 37,000 infections and about 400 deaths registered.
Earlier this month, the National Drug Authority (NDA) cautioned the public against using the COVIDEX drug since it had not yet undergone necessary testing emphasizing that the developer, Professor Patrick Ogwang had not subjected it to the required approvals.
Dr. David Nahamya, the Secretary NDA says that for a locally manufactured drug to be approved by the NDA, it has to go through clinical trials among other requirements and now that the herbal drug is safe following an assessment of the drug and inspections of the production facilities the public should readily be able to find it on market.
He, however, emphasized that the drug as of now should not be sold as a treatment for COVID-19 since more clinical trials are needed to substantiate claims that it can treat the disease.
“NDA has granted COVIDEX an approval based on initial assessment, published literature, and safety studies conducted by the innovator. The product has been formulated from herbal plants that have been traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of severe diseases. To further support the efficacy of the drug for other uses, the manufacturer is advised to conduct random controlled clinical trials to ascertain any claims of treatment,” Dr. Nahamya said.
According to Prof Ogwang, the product has been used by over 40 people both in the first and second waves and testimonies are that it has worked and he is willing to follow all NDA recommendations to save more lives in Uganda.
While Ogwang manufactured the drug so that it is easily accessible at 3,000 Shillings at retail, but since the time the drug was approved the price has escalated on the market averagely costing 50,000 Ugandan Shillings at the big stores and pharmacies.
If COVIDEX undergoes a study in randomized clinical trials Uganda is positioned at the front bench among the African countries in the fight against and management of the deadly COVID-19.
Pamela Achii the President of the Uganda Pharmaceutical Society and Dr. Grace Nambatya, the Director of Research at the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Laboratory said that the remedy has the berberine plant as an active ingredient and its effectiveness has been proven in COVID-19 studies and treatments that have been done globally.
Berberine has been used in treatments for diabetes and liver disease among other related diseases.