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SMU collaboration with the M5 Group to test a herbal product goes ahead

The Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University is collaborating with the M5 Group to test a herbal mixture developed by the group to help in the response to the fight against Covid-19. In a joint media statement issued recently the University said it recognizes and respects the importance of indigenous knowledge systems and the role of traditional medicine in our health care system. Furthermore, the University stated that it values coordinated efforts in response to pandemics, including the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The University further emphasized that SMU is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards and in promoting excellence in all research collaborations and partnerships it undertakes.

“During 2020, the University was approached by M5 MediGroup – a group of traditional health practitioners, to test the safety and efficacy of an herbal product prepared by M5 MediGroup and presented as a potential “alternative remedy” for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 infection. During January 2021, a formal collaboration was established with the M5 MediGroup and the group handed over samples of their herbal product to SMU, with the understanding that the University will follow all its ethical clearance processes to scientifically evaluate the herbal mixture for safety and efficacy”, said Professor Mapaseka Seheri in a statement.

The university emphasized later during a press briefing that the herbal product is not a vaccine. “The work that we will do include the characterization of the herbal product in terms of phytochemical composition and evaluation for anti Covid-19 activity. This herbal product is not a vaccine, it falls under the alternative medicine category, if we find efficacy, it will serve as a treatment, said Dr Stanley Gololo the Acting Head of Biochemistry
at SMU.

The University will continue to work with M5 MediGroup in promoting indigenous knowledge systems using best practices. History was indeed made when the Traditional practitioners joined hands with the scientists at SMU through the aforementioned relationship committing to contributing to solving the biggest health challenge we have faced in our time. We hereby give assurance to the public that once the University has completed these tests, a comprehensive scientific report will be provided.

This is a developing story.