When the Covid-19 crisis hit the country last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged Kenyan scientists, doctors, pharmacists and researchers to come up with an alternative way of dealing with the pandemic.
One scientist and researcher who heeded the President’s call is Prof Mohamed Hussein Abdille, a clinical virologist, a professor of preventive medicine and an expert in the emergence of infectious diseases and a former lecturer at Egerton University School of Medicine.
“I have come up with herbal medicine that could be the remedy to tame the spread of the deadly disease,” says Prof Abdille.
The herbal remedy dubbed Cr7 formula has been listed by the drug Regulatory Authority, Pharmacy and Poisons Board under borderline product certificate No 1755.
“The first listing was in July 2020 and it expired in December last year. I renewed it and it will now expire in December 2021. I have all the necessary papers and documentation,” explained Prof Abdille.
He said since he was listed by the regulatory body he has produced nearly 500kg of the herbal medicine.
In an interview in Nakuru Prof Abdille said he developed a formula to help fight Covid-19.
“I have come up with an alternative way of dealing with the Covid-19 virus. I have decided to compliment the government efforts to battle this deadly virus,” he said.
He continued: “The reputation of a scientist or a researcher worth his or her salt is to come up with a solution at a time most needed. This is the best time local scientists and researchers are needed by millions of Kenyans to offer a solution instead of waiting for the foreign-based solution which might come too little and too late.”
He said the herbal medicine is in use in Kenya and to avoid counterfeit, it is available in his store alone.
“I released it in the market last year but a retired senior military officer from the North Eastern region produced counterfeit and after that I decided to be the sole producer and distributor to maintain quality.” said Prof Abdille.
He added: “This is a natural herb that does not require any prescription and that is why the listing certification is under the borderline product category. The users only need to follow instructions indicated in the container.”
Mr Peter Kiama, a resident of Nairobi confirmed that he developed mild Covid-19 symptoms of fever, dry cough and tiredness and recovered without hospitalisation after using the herbal medicine.
“After using the herbal medicine I recovered and I believe the Cr7 formula is a solution that can tame the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
The chair of Covid-19 vaccine task force Dr Willis Akhwale said he was not aware of the Cr7 herbal medicine but said such a move is welcome.
“I’m not aware of any herbal medicine for fighting coronavirus I know but we welcome people who would develop local solutions as long as the clinical trials confirm it is working,” said Dr Akhwale.
He said some herbal medicine could just reduce the fever “and are not treating the virus. We will see what it will be able to do.”
The Ministry of Health Acting Director General for Health Patrick Amoth said he was not aware of the herbal medicine.
“There are many herbal medicines that are being circulated,” said Dr Amoth who is also the Chairperson of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board.
Dr Victor Achoka, a pharmacist said that anybody producing herbal medicines must have an innate understanding of the chemical composition of those products.
“This will rule out any guess work and avoid scenarios like the Pearl Omega drug for ‘treating’ HIV/Aids patients by Prof Arthur Obel which never saw the light of the day,” said Dr Achoka.
He said creating a drug requires certain protocols and basics things like the ability on how the human body works.
“The creators of herbal medicine must understand how the disease affects the human body to be able to treat the disease like covid-19. The herbal medicine may have pharmacological effect on the fight against Covid-19 but for one to prove its efficacy, there must be proof of trials. There are many herbal medicines that work. To claim it is a cure that is possible but the drug must be validated because that is how science works,” added Dr Achoka.
Scientifically approved ingredients
He said to validate the herbal medicine requires millions of shillings to separate the ingredients found in the plants.
Prof Abdille said the herbal medicine is made up of scientifically isolated researched materials that took many years of hard work.
“I have come up with scientifically approved ingredients. For instance, one of them is called thymoquinone, a promising natural compound with potential benefits for Covid-19 prevention and cure. Thymoquinone remains the major bioactive principle due to its range of therapeutic benefits including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal activity, and anticonvulsant activity and an immune booster. This formula mixture is helpful.”
Prof Abdille, who is a former Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) senior research scientist said it took six months to come up with this solution.
He said herbal medicine is based on indigenous knowledge and medicinal plants found in Kenya.
“Africa is known for its rich resources and I believe we have got herbs that can combat this virus and other viruses,” said Prof Abdille who is also a visiting Professor at Beijing Medical School and Wuhan Institute of Virology.
He said part of his research was conducted for nearly 20 years while he was at Kemri and gained a deep understanding of herbal medicine while working in China.
“The research has greatly been aided by my studies in China and I thank the collaboration between Kenya and China which played a key role in the invention of this drug,” he added.
He said he was ready to defend the herbal medicine at any forum on how it works. “Cr7 is not fictitious or anything associated with purely traditional medicine.”
He said herbal medicine played an important role in managing infectious disease, and a range of herbal medicinal studies on the treatment of a previous SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), have provided clinical evidence that herbal medicines have some advantageous effects on the treatment and prevention of epidemics, with several significant results.
However, he urged Kenyans that there is no shortcut to protection against pandemics in future.
The best way is to learn from the current experience and countries that have successfully handled the virus like China and New Zealand.
“Kenyans should continue to observe all the protocols to combat this pandemic. Cr7 is about prevention and boosting body immunity. Vaccines and Cr7 complement each other.”