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Uganda Successfully Launches Trials For Coronavirus Drug

Uganda has launched clinical trials of a locally produced herbal treatment for COVID-19. The therapeutic drug was developed by a think-tank of local scientists - under the Presidential Initiative on Epidemics. The product: UBV-01N is the first Ugandan natural chemotherapeutic medicine to go through an international level of the clinical trial process. Michael Baleke reports from Kampala.

President Yoweri Kaguta launched the herbal treatment as Uganda’s first clinical trials for a coronavirus drug at Mulago Hospital in Kampala.

The home-grown natural product was innovated and developed by the country’s scientists in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Uganda, Makerere University School of Public Health, and Mulago National Referal Hospital, among other stakeholders.

The president congratulated scientists involved in the breakthrough in the fight against the virus and pledged to prioritize the sector during his next term in office.

“I congratulate Ugandan scientists for coming up with the treatment for COVID-19 which will bring smiles to Ugandan patients,” he said. “You must build an independent Uganda. We are working on the vaccine and treatment by ourselves.”

The Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said the trial will also validate content standardization and replication, after which, it will be rolled out for industrial production and widespread use.

“The product has already gone through quality assurance steps and got all the necessary certificates and approval for use in human beings. The product has been approved by the National Drug Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, and National Council of Science and Technology,” said Hon. Aceng.

She said the country would be kept posted on the findings and the outcome of the studies, before thanking the President and other Ugandans who keep observing SoPs.

The presidential advisor on epidemics, Dr. Monica Musenero, said the researchers were working on even more products to treat viral and bacterial infections.

“I want to thank the team and we are looking forward to more innovative natural products that will make the country proud,” she said. 

For this clinical trial, the drug will be administered to 128 male and female patients who will present Covid-19 symptoms at Mulago Hospital.

At the time of the launch, there were 39,188 confirmed infections, with 433 active cases and 318 deaths from Covid-19 in Uganda.

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