UGANDA: GULU UNIVERSITY UNVEILS HERBAL REMEDY FOR COVID-19, COVILYEC.

Museveni is exited by traditional herbal medicines
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Members of Parliament pose for a photo with Officials of Gulu University over Covilyec

“Uganda made a call for scientific research and we are simply responding to that voice. We have responded by looking at the possibility of using herbal medicine to cure the disease, which was based on our experience as a University. If you look at indigenous knowledge and indigenous systems, they were able to fight a pandemic when conventional medicine was not there.”

GULU-UGANDA: In July 2021, at 10.00 am (about 07.00 GMT), a village herbalist learned that there were nine patients admitted at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital with the deadly COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives on oxygen support.

He dared medical experts at the facility that he has Gulu Regional Referral Hospital treatment center for COVID-19, that his herbal medicine can cure COVID-19. So, he went to the Gulu treatment center. On arrival; he was blocked by the administrator, saying he has a mental illness.

An hour later, he phoned Dr. Veronica Lamwaka who heads Gulu University Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology & Traditional Medicine Center in the Faculty of Medicine, who requested the herbalist to send his product to her.

She processed the concoction into a product called COVILYEC a herbal therapy. and administered it to the nine patients and by 03.00 pm (about 12 GMT), their lives were out of danger. Tears of joy run down their chins and Dr. Lamwaka became even more optimistic that the herbs from the region would rescue more lives

The media soon descended on the wonderful news and State-owned New Vision newspaper broke the news on July 12, 2021. Uganda National Drug Authority said it had not authorised Covilyce, prompting President Museveni’s intervention.

On July 19, 2021, the Uganda Parliamentary Health Committee Taskforce came to the ground and held a meeting with the researchers behind covilyce, and officials of Gulu University led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor George Openjuru-Ladaa at Bomah Hotel in Gulu City. The officials of the university stood their ground saying that the university did thorough research and tested the herbal remedy, tried it on some patients on oxygen and all recovered.

“We, as an institution engaged in research on herbal medicines which is headed by Dr. Lamwaka. We have trained local herbalists and are very useful partners in the research. When the case is serious, we refer the patients to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital for more medical attention and monitoring”, says the Vice Chancellor.

Dr. Lamwaka informed the MPs that as Gulu University they are heeding to President Museveni’s call to Uganda Scientists to find local remedies to the pandemic.

“Uganda made a call for scientific research and we are simply responding to that voice. We have responded by looking at the possibility of using herbal medicine to cure the disease, which was based on our experience as a University. If you look at indigenous knowledge and indigenous systems, they were able to fight a pandemic when conventional medicine was not there”, says the lead researcher.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the department had already started on the remedy of non-communicable diseases like asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes. From that products, the institution tried one of the remedies for the pandemic and because of experience of the past, they came up with Covilyce, which is within the four products which the university unveiled on July 12, 2021.

“I like this house to understand that, as Pharmacists, we are senior herbalists because we are professionally trained and we know the science behind plants. That is the strength of Gulu University and we would like you to know that traditional medicine is not a new thing. As a child, when we were growing up in the village, our parents were supporting us with the traditional local remedy that was behind the house. That is the kind of pharmacy Gulu University wants”, she says.”

She revealed that even three days before meeting the MPs, Mr. Museveni summoned them to State House where he gave a testimony about growing up without being sick or ill for 8 years. He wondered why we should run away from our culture. She says her department is trying to preserve that knowledge, bring it out properly documented.

“We are overwhelmed by the knowledge we are getting from the traditional healers. We can analyze, standardize purify crude products and add values and then give it back to the community that we have already trained”, she says.
Gulu University has trained over 300 herbalists and indigenous knowledge holders on how to collect medicines, to know which treatment fits these diseases, the quality assurance and quality control were out in the community to support.

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