Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT is conducting a research on medicines as part of efforts to come up with a locally developed Covid-19 vaccine to fight the spread of the deadly global pandemic.
This was revealed by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira during a question-and-answer session in the Senate recently.
Prof Murwira’s response followed a question by Chivi-Mwenezi Senator Josiah Hungwe who wanted to know why Zimbabwe is not putting local herbs together to come up with a vaccine for Covid-19.
“Some countries have come up with vaccines and we have seen your expertise and you have just talked about the other medicines that you have come up with. Do we not have scientists and doctors who can come up with vaccines?” asked Sen Hungwe.
“We have zumbani — can you not do something so that we can also be on the world map with regards creation of vaccines?”
Responding to the question, Prof Murwira said local doctors and scientists are in the process of conducting a research with the hope of coming up with a vaccine.
“We are busy doing our research on medicines and we are also bringing scientists and doctors so that they come up with a vaccine. It is very important for a country to be able to protect itself from hunger, diseases, poverty and any other challenges,” he said.
“All this can be done through research. I am promising you that we are not going to be 100 percent successful and that is why it is called a research but keep watching, you will see it. This country is going to succeed and move forward.”
Prof Murwira said one of the country’s universities has already come up with umsuzwane/zumbani cough drops.
“This will only come from one thing, which is the desire to go forward. That is what we are doing. I cannot say everything in this House but something is going on,” he said.
“I have seen that one of our universities in Mutare, Africa University, has come up with zumbani cough drops. There are a lot of things that we are doing with zumbani. Just keep watching and I cannot get into detail, but something is coming.”
Consumption of traditional herbs and steaming have become popular home remedies against Covid-19 which had claimed 1 432 lives in Zimbabwe as of Saturday.
Social media platforms are daily awash with messages on the efficacy of Covid-19 home remedies such as steaming with umsuzwane/zumbane, guava, mango or gumtree leaves as well as drinking ginger, garlic and lemon concoctions.
After steaming, most people drink the mixtures when they have cooled down. Although there is no scientific evidence that the home remedies work, many people who have recovered from the pandemic have confirmed using the home remedies and some believe they have been able to protect themselves from infection using the same remedies.
Steaming at least twice a day with traditional herbs is prescribed by advocates of indigenous knowledge systems.
Although scientific research says nothing about the efficacy of these remedies, traditionalists say such remedies have been used for centuries even before the emergence of modern medicine.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, about 80 percent of Zimbabweans use traditional medicines which still play an important role in meeting basic health care needs of local communities. — @mashnets