By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Ugandan scientists and the ministry of health are struggling to acquire the required number of volunteers to participate in the trials of a locally made herbal treatment against Covid-19 that was launched in January by president Museveni.
Dr. Monica Musenero the Presidential Advisor on Epidemics said the falling COVID-19 positive cases in February and April which led to the closure of COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres around the country, also affected the progress.
On the other hand, Musenero noted that the community mistrust which has also affected the uptake of the AstraZeneca vaccine is to blame for this situation as many people have declined to take the vaccination since the exercise began in March this year.
“We started to recruit patients, the cases of COVID-19 went down so our projection which we had made in December when we had so many cases coming in didn’t work. We moved more slowly than we expected,” Dr. Musenero said.
On January 27, 2021, President Museveni launched clinical trials of this homegrown Covid-19 treatment drug named UBV-01N, a product of the Natural Chemoraptics Research Institute.
According to the researchers, the drug is believed to have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and immunological properties that have the ability to suppress the COVID-19 virus.
Dr. Musenero however said that they have only registered 35 people so far of the targeted 124 for the exercise.
The presidential advisor however said that now with the rising cases of COVID-19 patients, they are hopeful to get the remaining participants and conclude the clinical trial phase.
Dr. Musenero said that the treatment regimen has so far been used on some patients in Tororo, who showed improvement and they trust that if trials are completed, it will be useful in the country’s fight against COVID-19.
While launching the clinical trial of the homegrown Covid-19 treatment drug, UBV-01N, a product of the Natural Museveni said at times he gets infuriated by the lack of self-belief of Africans.
“We shall not accept dependency. You must build an independent Uganda. We are working on the vaccine and treatment by ourselves,” Museveni said at Mulago national referral hospital.
“I don’t know what is the problem with Africans; how they can sit here like maggots – and they are dying and they are waiting for Europeans to save them. If the Europeans don’t get the vaccine, we shall die and get finished. If they don’t get a solution we shall die. That one I cannot accept. I really feel infuriated when I see Africans sitting here waiting to die if the Europeans don’t find a solution…When you’re supposed to do the work you say so and so should do the work. This one I cannot accept” added Museveni.
The UBV-01N drug is supposed to be administered to 128 male and female patients who present Covid-19 symptoms at Mulago hospital but exercise is still stuck with no volunteers.
Uganda is currently using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which was imported from the COVAX facility of India in March 2021.