Alternative medicine, science and Covid-19

Thursday January 06 2022
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By Business Daily Africa

Almost two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is still in mental confusion. The pandemic has caused so many deaths, but no country has not suffered economic and social disruptions.

The discovery of vaccines brought hope that by 2021 everyone was to be vaccinated. But, unfortunately, the hopes were shattered, with a significant number of people refusing to be vaccinated.

As we usher in 2022, there seems to be more confusion. There are new variants of Covid-19 that have infected both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

And what is more worrying is that scientists are also not reading from the same script. They cannot even explain why the vaccines are ineffective even when boosted.

When Omicron popped up in South Africa, policymakers in the north rushed to close their borders only to discover that the new variant was dominant in their countries. Yet they were not aware of it until South Africa scientists discovered it.

Scientists in the north almost immediately contested Omicron findings from South Africa until several other studies confirmed the results.


The USA’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) added more confusion in saying that the PCR test cannot differentiate between SARS/Cov-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) and influenza viruses. So, effectively, we do not know if Omicron is a new variant or new flu.

Meanwhile, the mental exhaustion of masking is evident everywhere. Some people have a false belief that once fully vaccinated, they have built enough antibodies to fight on their behalf. Others don’t acknowledge that we are in a severe pandemic.

In the melee of all these confusions, people develop different approaches to overcoming the crisis.

Despite all these approaches, we are yet to address the impact of Omicron in many people’s lives.

I discovered this when Omicron infected me during the Christmas period despite being fully vaccinated and having a boost vaccine. Friends offered concoctions.

I was particularly intrigued with one local herb registered as a food supplement and a similar one from India. So, with my temperature rising upwards to 45 degrees Celsius and oxygen levels dropping below the 90s, I decided to take the “food supplement.” It worked like magic.

I was well aware that this particular medicine had helped many people recover from the original Cov-2 virus.

These alternative medicines, which Western scientists shun and are referred to as traditional and complementary therapies (T&CT) saved my life.

In effect, these are extracts from medicinal plants, which mainstream health systems have never recognised their role in healthcare. Yet, they seem to be working when the world is facing medical confusion. A large and growing population has faith in these medicines, but that fuels further confusion.

We have seen this play out in the recent developments of vaccines that became the vaccine nationalism fiasco. Some of these plant-based medicines were used to treat viral diseases in Africa in the past and today.

The Ebola outbreak, for example, did not end with a new vaccine but rather the continuous use of T&CT. Africa can provide contextual evidence on some of these solutions, or forever the continent becomes enslaved to big pharma.

Suppose there is a time that researchers in Africa needed policy support to take the continent to another level. In that case, it is now when their contextual knowledge is required in the global conversations about the pandemic. There is confusion in the world of science. Many unanswered questions need answers, especially from local scientists.

The least we can do is scientifically explain an emerging phenomenon that has puzzled researchers. It could unravel the confusion we are in now.