Herbal Covid treatment cleared, vaccine registration opens

Herbal Covid treatment cleared, vaccine registration opens

FILE PHOTO: James Teague, president of AstraZeneca in Thailand, attends a signing ceremony for the agreement for Thailand to purchase AstraZeneca's potential Covid-19 vaccine at Government House in Bangkok on Nov 27, 2020. (AFP)
FILE PHOTO: James Teague, president of AstraZeneca in Thailand, attends a signing ceremony for the agreement for Thailand to purchase AstraZeneca's potential Covid-19 vaccine at Government House in Bangkok on Nov 27, 2020. (AFP)

Health officials said Thailand is ready to register Covid-19 vaccines after separately approving the use of a herbal plant extract to treat early stages of the disease as a pilot program amid a flareup in the coronavirus outbreak across the country.

Andrographis Paniculata, commonly known as green chiretta, will serve as an alternative treatment to reduce the severity of the outbreak and cut treatment costs, the health ministry said in a statement Wednesday. The treatment will be available in five state-owned hospitals initially, it said.

Thailand reported 250 new cases on Wednesday, taking the nation’s total to almost 7,000, and a government official said the rate of increase in local transmissions was alarming and urged people to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading further. The government has also banned large gatherings in high-risk areas, said Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesperson for the national Covid-19 response centre.

The herbal treatment will be on a voluntary basis for those in the 18-60 age group with minor symptoms and should be within 72 hours of confirming infections

The extract from the plant, known as Fah Talai Jone in Thai, can curb the virus and reduce the severity of inflammation, the ministry said, citing studies.

Human trials showed patient conditions improved within three days of the treatment without side effects if the medicine is administered within 72 hours of testing positive. 

Separately, the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it’s ready to register Covid-19 vaccines.

The FDA has opened a special channel for the registration to ensure speedy processing.

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