Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande says African medicine has shown to have a potential avenue in possibly assisting scientific research into managing Covid-19 symptoms.
Johannesburg – Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande says his department is working with scientific research institutions in supporting research into African herbal treatments which could assist in treating Covid-19.
These include Artemisia, which is commonly known as Umhlonyane and also using cannabis in fighting Covid-19 symptoms.
Nzimande said the fight against the coronavirus pandemic needs to be multi-disciplinary. He was speaking at a briefing on Wednesday.
He said the scientific sector has been embarking on various kinds of research which include the telephonic screening of coronavirus symptoms.
This research has been concentrated in Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga. It will now be broadened to include Gauteng and the Western Cape – which account for the largest number of confirmed Covid cases and deaths in the country.
Nzimande said African medicine has shown to have a potential avenue in possibly assisting scientific research into managing Covid-19 symptoms.
One of these African herbs includes Artemisia also known as Umhlonyane and also using cannabis in fighting Covid-19 symptoms.
“We are in the process of implementing multiple interventions including the use of African Medicines as immune-modulators and anti-coronavirus therapeutics. The programme has been working with the African Medicines Covid-19 Research Team in researching several South African herbs and formulations; with documented evidence for treatment of respiratory infections, signs and symptoms.
“The DSI is also leading a Research and Innovation Pillar of the Cannabis Industrialisation Master Plan. To this extent, our focus is to develop medicinal products for Covid-19, cancers, diabetes, TB and HIV/AIDS and neurodegenerative diseases, amongst others,” Nzimande said.
The minister said R15 million has been reassigned in the Department of Science and Innovation and will now be focused towards financing scientific research on the coronavirus.
The department will also benefit from a boost of R70 million from Canada, Sweden, and the UK which will help research into the coronavirus pandemic.
Nzimande also said some of the country’s laboratories had been repurposed for assisting in testing for coronavirus.