WHO to lead high-level visit to the African Medicines Innovation and Technology Development Platform in Bloemfontein.

The African Medicines Innovation and Technology Development Platform (AMITD) at the University of the Free State (UFS), funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), will host experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, the African Union Commission, and the WHO Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 Response (REACT).

Preceding the visit to the UFS on 17 June, the delegation will meet officials of the DSI as the main funder, the Department of Health, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), Pharma-Ethics, and the Technology InnovationAgency on 13 June 2022.

Prof Motlalepula Matsabisa, Head of the African Medicines Innovation and Technology Development Platform (AMITD), said the delegation would meet with researchers working on preclinical phases as well as on clinical trials of herbal medicines for COVID-19, medicine regulators, the Ethics Committee, and local pharmaceutical companies working on the production of herbal medicines for COVID-19.

"The mission will also look at best-researched products that have undergone preclinical and clinical research and are produced locally, so that they can be recommended for endorsement by the WHO," said Prof Matsabisa. "At the end of the mission, a report will be produced and presented to the WHO, the Department of Health, and all stakeholders, and made available to the WHO headquarters in Geneva."

The visit is a significant vote of confidence in the excellence of the work being done in research and development on traditional medicines by the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for Health Unit in the Department of Pharmacology at the UFS.

The AMITD is the first in South Africa and in the Southern African region to have a research product – the traditional medicine PHELA – given ethics approval by Pharma Ethics and SAHPRA to be tested on COVID-19 patients in a Phase II clinical trial. The clinical trial, a multicentre study, is being conducted at sites in Vereeniging, Kimberley, and Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth). The delegation will be visiting all three clinical trial sites.

Issued by the University of the Free State and the Department of Science and Innovation

  • Progress for traditional medicine in disease-fighting arsenal.
  • UFS exhibits products and services at WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit.
  • Chinese Embassy visit strengthens UFS international collaboration in research and health.