A South African university is set to begin with trials that will test the effectiveness of plant-based treatments and traditional medicine for Covid-19.
The Department of Pharmacology at the University of the Free State (UFS) has teamed up with the university’s FARMOVS research team to carry out the first South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) approved clinical trial of the plant-based product, Phela.
Prof Motlalepula Matsabisa, Director of Pharmacology at UFS, says that the main purpose of the clinical trial is to confirm that the product can treat Covid-19 and be registered as a medication for the indication.
Matsabisa explained that Phela is a herbal product made of four medicinal plants and has traditionally been claimed for use for a historical disease called muyaga. He added that it was recently scientifically tested and found effective as an immune modulator and benefits persons with a compromised immune system
He added, “We believe the medication works as an immune modulator to modulate the cytokine storm due to Covid-19 and also restores and normalises the patient’s immune system”.
There will be 250 patients who will participate in the trial. These patients will be suffering from mild to moderate Covid-19.
Matsabisa added, “The SAHPRA-approved clinical trial will be conducted in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng. The clinical trial will be conducted by a complement of medical staff and clinicians with vast experience of many active years of clinical trials”.