UB In the Race for COVID-19 Cure

Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris says that scientists at the University of Botswana (UB) met today to expedite further research processes following the discovery of an indigenous plant that may have properties to prevent and cure COVID-19 Virus Although finding cure is still far, he said that they have been testing various plant material including Mongana which is said to have properties that kill malaria and COVID-19.


Scientists at the University of Botswana (UB) have discovered several indigenous plants that may have properties to prevent and cure the novel coronavirus, this publication has established. These plants includes Artemisia, that is used to make COVID-Organics in Madagascar where at least two people are reported to have been cured after using it.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape, referred this publication to UB when contacted about Botswana’s potential lead in the race to find a cure for the deadly disease. At UB, Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris told The Botswana Gazette that his team of scientists today (Tuesday) to expedite the process of finding a cure locally.

“But we are still very far,” Professor Norris cautioned. “We still have to do more research. We need to follow all health protocols and make sure that the cure does not have any negative effects on people.”

He noted that one of their biggest challenges was that there were no subjects to test potential cures on. “These cures need to be tested on subjects that have the virus for us to observe how the body reacts,” he pointed out. “You would find that some cures do indeed kill the virus but affect the liver. Over the past few days, we have had more than 10 people coming forward saying they have traditional herbs that could cure this virus, but thorough research has to be conducted.”

Professor Norris emphasised the determination of UB to find a cure for COVID-19, saying Botswana would not sit idly by and look to Western countries to find a cure. The Coronavirus has already claimed more than 200 000 lives around the world.

“We do have the capacity and expertise as a country to find the cure ourselves,” Dr Norris (PhD) asserted. “Even if any of the Western countries found a cure today, it would take two years for it to reach Botswana.”

Lead Researcher, Professor Daniel Motlhanka also told this publication that his team is currently testing several medicinal plants in a bid to find a possible remedy for Covid-19. He however pointed out that funding remained their biggest challenge.

“We are currently putting up a proposal that we will be submitting to the Botswana Innovation Hub for funding,” explained Professor Motlhanka. Lippia Javanica (Mosukujwane) is also one of the plants that have been tested.

Artemisia is the plant that is believed to have the potential to cure and prevent the Coronavirus. It is a popular medicinal plant in southern and East Africa. Its leaves are used to make herbal tea, as well as to treat ailments such as coughs, colds, fever, loss of appetite and headaches.

The President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina last week launched his country’s local herbal remedy. Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) explained that it is derived from Artemisia. As of April 22, Madagascar’s case stats stood at 121, of which 44 had recovered with no deaths.

Last week, Zimbabwe’s government authorized traditional herbalists to treat Coronavirus patients, The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) however says there is no scientific evidence that any of these alternative remedies can prevent or cure the illness caused by COVID-19. In fact, some of them may not be safe to consume.