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No evidence Russian president Putin ordered Madagascar’s Covid-19 ‘cure’

A message circulating on Facebook since 17 May 2020 claims Russian president Vladimir Putin has “confessed” to ordering a million bottles of Covid-Organics, the herbal tonic promoted by Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina as a cure for Covid-19.

It quotes Putin as saying the tonic is a proven “curative and preventive remedy” for the coronavirus, and that he calls on Africans “not to follow the WHO”, the World Health Organization.

Has the Russian president endorsed Covid-Organics and ordered a million bottles of the drink?

Covid-Organics untested

When Rajoelina launched Covid-Organics in April he claimed the drink had already cured two people, saying it “gives results in seven days”.

Africa Check has found there is no evidence the tonic cures Covid-19. We also debunked a claim that certain African leaders had endorsed it. 

The WHO has since released a statement explaining its position on the drink. It says medicinal plants, such as the main ingredient in Covid-Organics, “are being considered as possible treatments for Covid-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects”. 

But it adds: “As efforts are under way to find treatment for Covid-19, caution must be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies.”

Russian stance on Covid-Organics, WHO

There are no credible news reports that Putin has ordered Covid-Organics. The news can’t be found on Russian independent news site the Moscow Times, and the Russian government website has not mentioned it in its official news releases.

And while US president Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised the WHO, Putin has not done so.

On 30 April, Africa Check investigated false reports that Putin had supported Trump’s decision to freeze funding to the WHO. A Kremlin spokesperson said at the time: “The heads of the G20, including Russian president Vladimir Putin, support the work of the WHO and place their hopes on the WHO’s future work to analyse the experience of this pandemic.” 

Russian support for the WHO was reiterated in a 6 May report by US news organisation CNBC. – Keegan Leech


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