Madagascar's president had been promoting the artemisia-based herbal tonic

The proliferation of fake Covid-19 drugs on the Ghanaian market will soon see a change.

University of Ghana scientists at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens are developing an experimental model to screen Covid-19 drugs.

Senior research fellow, Dr. Peter Kojo Quashie says the model would involve the use of a pseudovirus which is a virus similar to the real one but not infectious.

He revealed this at the 2020 webinar and 9th annual Ghana Science Association Research Seminar and Poster Presentations.

“SARS CoV-2 is the virus which causes Covid-19. In making the pseudo-virus, some key SARS-CoV-2 genes were introduced by way of a vector into a non-infectious lentivirus vector.  

“In a cell, both vectors produce proteins which assemble into a virus that can infect only 1 human cell,” Dr. Quashie explained.

This is because the genetic material is separated and as such the pseudovirus cannot make more copies of itself. This makes pseudoviruses safer than using the real virus.   

The scientists will now use these pseudoviruses to screen the herbal products to see which one prevents infection, without the high risk of using the real virus.

This can be performed in a level 2 biosafety containment facility, since it’s not dangerous.