Pretoria – History was indeed made when the traditional practitioners of the M5 MediGroup joined hands with scientists at the Sefakho Makgatho Health Sciences University.
With the university being the only dedicated health sciences university in the country, it said it was pleased to have been roped in to be part of co-ordinated efforts in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Eric Pule, the spokesperson for the university said they were approached by the M5 MediGroup to test the safety and efficacy of a herbal product prepared and presented as a potential “alternative remedy” for SARS-CoV-2 or the Covid-19 infection.
Pule said as the university recognised and respected the importance of indigenous knowledge systems and the role of traditional medicine in our health care system, they wanted to maintain the highest ethical standards in promoting excellence in all research collaborations and partnerships.
Through the collaboration formed in January this year, Pule said the samples were handed over to them with the understanding that the university would follow all its ethical clearance processes to scientifically evaluate the herbal mixture for safety and efficacy.
“The understanding between the two parties is that the university would develop research protocols to be approved by the university’s research ethics committee for testing the herbal product.”
“Furthermore, it was agreed upon that the university would only administer the herbal remedies or products to patients once safety has been proven and efficacy subsequently established,” Pule added.
He said following this the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) would also have to approve the tested product before further distribution to any members of the public.
Pule said the reason why he wanted to stress this point was to clarify recent reports that had indicated that the group had administered their herbal product to more than 500 Covid-19 patients from Rustenburg, Soweto, Boksburg and Limpopo and subsequently received positive feedback from their patients.
“In the light of the above, the university and the M5 MediGroup saw it fit to clarify that the process to administer the herbal product had occurred prior to the establishment of the relationship between the university and the M5 MediGroup and was done within the scope of the practice of the group of traditional health practitioners.”
“We hereby give assurance to the public that once the university has completed these tests, a comprehensive scientific report will be provided.”