Pascal Gisenya and Nsengiyumva Bati Daddy
Tuberculosis kills 2 000 000 people every year. And the situation is dramatic because the disease becomes resistant to conventional pharmaceutical treatments.
We ran a pilot trial at the Ruanguba Hospital in North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo to confirm the efficacy of Artemisia Afra as a supplement to the National Treatment
We admitted 5 patients with confirmed laboratory Ziehl-Neelsen test on Day 0.
All of these patients were adult male with the following symptoms typical to Active tuberculosis: productive cough for more than 3 weeks aggravated at night, chest pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever and night sweats.
One of the patients has been on the national protocol (as per WHO recommendation: R=Rifampicin, H: Isoniazid, Z: Pyrazinamide, E: Ethambutol) for 1 month but there was no change.
All the 5 patients were admitted in isolation in a separate ward. They were given the national program treatment (RHZE) with 10 gm of Artemisia afra (leaves and stems) dissolved in 1 liter of boiled water in 3 divided doses. They were also fed with 3 meals a day for 10 days.
On day 2 of treatment the night cough was partially reversed and all the patients could sleep and continued to cough only 10 times during the day.
On day 5, the following symptoms stopped: cough, fatigue, fever and night sweats.
On day 7, all the patients were symptoms free and displayed a lot of energy to the point that they asked to visit their fields. They walked for around 10 kms and returned to the hospital with no symptoms.
On day 10, all of the patients had sputum laboratory examination and the Zielh-Neelsen test was negative.
This Ziehl-Neelsen lab test was performed on 29/09/2020 and the results even if expected became overwhelming: total absence of mycobacteria in the sputum of the 5 patients.
This in vivo result is to our knowledge the first observed for this combination of Artemisia afra or Artemisia annua infusions combined with conventional anti-tuberculosis drugs. Several authors had obtained promising in vitro results, but very often in vitro assays cannot be confirmed in vivo. The interference of the human metabolism affects the mechanisms.
Maria C Martini, Tianbi Zhang, John T. Williams, Robert B. Abramovitch, Pamela J. Weathers, Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra extracts exhibit strong bactericidal activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J. Ethnopharmacology Volume 262, 15 November 2020, 113191 doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.113191
Ntutela S, Smith P, Matika L, et al. Efficacy of Artemisia afra phytotherapy in experimental tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2009;89 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S33-S40. doi:10.1016/S1472-9792(09)70009-5
With our research partners we are actively looking for an explanation of this extraordinary property of Artemisia afra infusions. Our partner Dr Pierre Lutgen proposes the hypothesis that pentacyclic triterpenes play a key role.
Il is planned to confirm our results by similar in vivo case studies with partners in other African countries: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Cameroon.
Artemisia afra, a widespread wild African plant, will save Africa, not only from Malaria, Schistosomiasis, Trypanosoma, but also from Tuberculosis