Polynesia authorizes the import of Artemisia annua, a medicinal plant used against Covid in Madagascar.

The government of French Polynesia has given favorable consideration to the import request for seeds of Artemisia annua, an aromatic plant for medicinal use, according to the cabinet report. This medicinal plant made a name for itself after Madagascar invented a "miracle cure" against Covid-19.

The motivation for the request relates to the medicinal properties of this plant which produces a particular substance: artemisinin. This antimalarial is also being studied as part of treatments against cancer, HIV and viruses responsible for epidemics such as Covid-19, explains the report of the Council of Ministers in Polynesia. This plant is registered on the positive list of the Chinese pharmacopoeia, which constitutes a world reference for medicinal plants and it is widely used in Chinese medicine. Artemisia is also used in veterinary care against parasitic diseases.

For the Polynesian government, it is above all about supervising the use of this new plant. The seeds will initially be exclusively intended for crop trials carried out by the Department of Agriculture in order to define the technical itinerary and to validate the feasibility of the crop, we continue. This period is estimated at around 12 months, a period which may be reduced depending on the results obtained, and during which the dissemination and monitoring plan will be established.

In Madagascar, Artemesia Annua, or Armoise Annuelle, made headlines in April 2020, when President Andry Rajoelina announced the manufacture of a "miracle cure" for Covid-19 based on Artemesia. Then in October 2020, the Madagascan president presented Artemesia and Ravintsara capsules, local Madagascan plants, whose virtues are recognized worldwide. "You can change history through nature, natural resources and Malagasy know-how," he said.

"Medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are considered as possible treatments for Covid-19, but trials should be carried out to assess their effectiveness and determine their adverse effects", noted the WHO in May 2020. For INSERM , if the plant opens up interesting avenues of research against Covid-19, in the absence of robust data or longer-term studies with controlled doses of Artemisia annua extracts, it does not currently constitute a treatment. In June 2020, the German Max-Planck Institute announced that extracts of dried Artemisia have been shown to be effective, in the laboratory, in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.