Conakry, Guinea: The plant artemisia annua has been the subject of much attention since this Asian native plant was introduced by the WHO as a "possible treatment for covid-19". Guineetime has spoken with a "nature lover", Vedely Jean-Valentin Haba, who is trying to "adapt" to local climatic conditions, with several species of this plant coming from various horizons.He has been cultivating artemisia since 2017 in Kankan.
It should be noted that since the bold announcement of the Malagasy president, A. Rajoelina, on the covid-organics, a tea discovered on the big island as a "remedy" to the pandemic of the new coronavirus, African researchers of the plant with multiple virtues, artemisia, see the horizon brightening. Several years of hard work in the indifference of citizens and authorities seems to have been rewarded.
Vedely Jean Valentin Haba is an Economist-Researcher at the University of Julius Nyereré in Kankan. In Kankan, on half a hectare of his agro-pastoral farm "Horeb", he is trying out Artemisia species from Togo, Malawi, Cameroon...to find an ecotype appropriate to the country's climate.
For several weeks now, Mr. Haba has been on a roll. He has sold 64 kilograms of Artemisia annua L and 500 40-gram sachets of this plant presented a few days ago by the WHO as a "possible treatment for covid-19", the pandemic that is infecting millions of people around the world, putting the world's most efficient health systems to the test.
The WHO Regional Representative in Kankan, even satisfied his curiosity by going to visit, personally, the 6300 square metre artemisia experimental field on Mr Haba's farm.
However, in 2017 and 2018, despite the lectures he organised on the therapeutic virtues of the said plant, in which doctors had taken part, the attention has never been so great. In fact, he had offered free sachets of this dreaded plant against malaria to doctors and other pharmacists. Without any success.
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In Conakry, the equally bold communication of a certain Dr Kourouma Habib, an epidemiologist, on the virtues of artemisia, drew the spotlight on this extremely effective herbal tea against malaria, which causes more than 400,000 deaths worldwide every year.
This media outing comforted the Maison de l'Artemisia in Guinea and touched the heart of lady Lucile Cornet-Vernet, founder of La Maison de l'Artemisia. This association carries out research and helps the inhabitants, particularly in Africa, by setting up a network of centres for the care and cultivation of the plant.
"It has advocated to artemisia researchers to get them interested in trials of the plant for the treatment of covid-19," explains Mr. Haba.
"I haven't touched a covid-19 patient, but relatives of covid-19 patients happen to buy the tea with me and give it to their relatives. They then bring back cures to me. Artemisia has antiretroviral properties, strengthens immunity and helps the patient recover quickly," he continues.
On malaria treatment, the statistics are good. Many researchers at the Maison de l'Artemisia have published articles on the effectiveness of the plant on malaria.
In Kankan, where he coordinates an agro-pastoral farm, Jean-Valentin Haba has offered 900 treatments free of charge to malaria patients between 2017 and 2018 after laboratory tests. More than 105 patients came back to recognise the effect of the plant on the disease.
"There have been five families here in Kankan since then who regularly buy Artemisia to treat malaria," Haba admits.
It was in 2016 that Vedely Jean Valentin Haba met the plant in Togo, during a week-long religious meeting. Obsessed with the virtues of Artemisia, Haba spent more than a week in this country to deepen his knowledge of the plant and to understand the route of its cultivation. On his return to Guinea, the difficulties in the trials led him to speak with Mrs. Lucile Cornet-Vernet. The support is considerable in the continuation of the activities of the Maison de l'Artémisia Guinée.
Today, through the garden of his agro-pastoral farm, Mr. Haba has already initiated a dozen young people to the cultivation of the plant.
The Scientific Council, set up in response to covid-19, has not yet pronounced itself on artemisia as a potential treatment in Guinea against the coronavirus. It has stated that "work is underway on treatment protocols and the use of research results". A moment awaited by the promoters of Artemisia in Guinea.
Article written by Amadou Touré for Guinée Time Info