In Barbados, Paul Simba Rock, a Rastafari advocate, and the Rastafarian community are exploring alternative methods of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and the current vaccine programs underway. Rock said that they will meet with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, about the possibility of getting Covid Organics from Madagascar as well as some of the tonic Cuba is using to support its people while the country works to create its own vaccine. Rock noted that Rastafarians place a great value on eating natural foods and using natural remedies, and these options could make sense for those who do not want to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.
For Rastas, healing is viewed holistically as they believe that health involves the mind, body, and soul. They believe that if an illness exists, God will have provided a cure for it. All ills may have both a spiritual and natural cause. They also believe that the white Western socio-political system is damaging to individuals and society and do not trust Western medicine. They rarely go to the hospitals, preferring remedies and belief systems and practices that originate in Africa and that focus on natural ingredients and tools.
The introduction of Covid Organics (CVO) in Madagascar is based on the work of the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) and the National Pharmacology Research Center, which partnered to find a cure for COVID-19. The founder of Covid Organics, Albert Rakoto Ratsimamanga, is an advocate of the links between traditional and modern medicine. Under demands from the nation’s president and the promising effects of chloroquine and artemisia in China against COVID-19, the two research facilities conducted joint studies and protocols on artemisia, a plant already known for its beneficial treatment of malaria. The research led to the development of Covid Organics, which is a traditional remedy made of artemisia and other medicinal plants like ravintsara.
Covid Organics was launched in October 2021 in the form of capsules. Madagascar’s Head of State Andry Rajoelina strongly supports the research and the remedy, saying, “We will make known to the world the capsules produced from artemisia and ravintsara, local Malagasy plants, whose virtues are recognized worldwide […] we can change history through nature, natural resources and Malagasy know-how.”
A plant for manufacturing the new Covid Organics products can produce as many as 32,000 capsules per day, and it already has 275 million in stock. A number of countries, chiefly in Africa, have already obtained several doses of Covid Organics.
There has been no independent study of the remedy’s effectiveness against COVID-19 to date, however.